Waste management - it's a passion

From the Commissioner
Dr Gillian Sparkes

It was an honour and an absolute pleasure to be the dinner speaker at the Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) Victorian Branch Christmas Dinner at the Arts Centre on Thursday night. Thank you to WMAA’s Garth Lamb and Gayle Sloan for the opportunity to speak about my passion and commitment to the waste industry and its vital role in environmental stewardship.

You’re either interested in waste management or you’re not and I am! In my speech, I had the rare opportunity to reflect on my own journey – early days growing up on Western Port and Port Phillip Bay and my early career with the steel and waste industries. From industrial chemist, to environmental scientist, community liaison and operations management of waste, acid and water treatment plant operations for the 24/7 steel mill. I spoke about how my experience in industry and interacting with government, was a key motivation for moving into the public sector. The evening was one of story-telling and sharing with friends and colleagues – old and new - I met so many interesting people who wanted to keep the conversation going around environmental stewardship, resilience, what it takes to lead reform agendas and the criticality of maintaining a social licence and community trust.

A big congratulations to National Accreditation and Compliance Manager with Tyre Stewardship Australia Jade Barnaby who was awarded the 2017 WMAA Women in the Environment Award last night. I have watched Jade’s career blossom since she led bold projects at Sustainability Victoria around recycling of waste paint and batteries during my time as SV Board Chair. She is now working on a brilliant tyre recycling project with Tyre Stewardship Australia. Last but not least the evening was a good opportunity to again acknowledge and thank Christine Wardle who continues to be a champion of women working in the environment and waste industry.