Judy Edwards

Judy Edwards

Former Minister for the Environment; Science

    Auditor's review will improve tracking of waste

    19/10/2005 12:00 AM

    An Auditor General's report on tracking the transport of controlled waste in Western Australia will assist in strengthening the system and maintaining a high level of compliance by the waste transport and handling sector.

    Environment Minister Dr Judy Edwards said the report, table in Parliament today, generally had endorsed the Department of Environment's Controlled Waste Tracking System, but had identified some deficiencies.

    "There were some errors in the data used by the tracking system, which is the first of its type in Australia, "Dr Edwards said.

    "The errors were primarily the result of a number of different users of the system using different measurement units.

    "I have asked the Department to ensure that the measurement units are standardised across all users of the system.

    "The program also will be upgraded so that it 'flags' any incorrect data entries."

    The tracking system is an internet-based program which provides information on waste movements to DoE in real time.

    The system replaced the previous one that required waste transporters to mail in details of waste movement.

    Being paper based, data analysis was severely limited.

    The new system relies on transporters to accurately enter information into the database but the report identified there were still opportunities to develop the system and improve its reliability.

    Dr Edwards said the Department was in the process of engaging an external consultant to review the database and reporting processes.

    "This is Australia's first internet-based system to track controlled waste and some areas of the program are still under development, particularly the reporting and quality assurance aspects," she said.

    "Clearly, the audit report and the Department's own review processes have identified areas that now can be fine tuned.

    "For example, measures to reconcile the amount of waste produced with the amount of waste delivered will be considered as part of any upgrade to the program.

    "The aim will be to improve the efficiency of the system and ways to improve its usage. The independent review and it recommendations will be available publicly when it is complete."

    "As with any new software systems, they evolve with use.

    "The underlying structure of the CWTS is sound and that date integrity is assured."

    Dr Edwards said the system was a useful tool in recording and storing information about waste movements and was just one component of the Government's approach that also included licensing of transporter, drivers and vehicles, inspections and enforcement activities.

    She said the Auditor General's report also recognised the competence and value of the DoE activities in this area.

    The report found DoE had well-documented, thorough and consistent approach to incident investigation and enforcement.

    Minister's office: 9220 5050