On Monday the 22nd of March, the NSW Government and Public Works Committee (PWC) released a final report for the inquiry regarding costs for remediation of coal ash repositories in New South Wales. This particular inquiry (commissioned in 2019) was tasked with taking a closer look at coal ash, its history and the future of the industry; with a specific focus on the potential commercial use of by-products in large scale projects.
CEO of the Ash Development Association of Australia (ADAA), Craig Heidrich, sat down with us recently and offered his perspective on the NSW Senate Inquiry and how the Association, specifically identified as driver for change in the Inquiries recommendations, and his hopes to work with all stakeholders to maximise coal combustion products.
- Craig Heidrich (ADAA - Chief Executive Officer)
In January 2020, Mr Heidrich and the Board Executive crafted a submission to the New South Wales Parliament Legislative Council – Public Works Committee (PWC), ‘Costs for remediation of coal ash repositories’ in New South Wales, a number of recommendations on behalf of the Ash Development Association of Australia. The recommendations were focused heavily on the benefits of using coal combustion products consistent with circular economy principles and developing a strategy to ensure the successful implementation of CCPs into beneficial projects.
Mr Heidrich said, “This [report] is a significant milestone and an opportunity for our industry to get true recognition for the benefits that arise from recovering these [CCPs] resources.”
A majority of the ADAA submissions to the PWC were supported in the final report and have been outlined in the recommendations.
“We acknowledge that the government has concerns about the long-term unknown liabilities of CCPs remaining in these repositories and we hope that our science-based / evidence approach recommendations will be adopted so we can work ‘hand-in-glove’ with the government and relevant agencies to decipher ways we can use CCPs effectively”. Mr Heidrich noted.
In his 26 years of experience managing Industry Associations Mr Heidrich said this is an important milestone in the journey towards changing attitudes about CCPs, in particular how the beneficial use can contribute to the grow focus on the NSW circular economy.
“We [as an organisation] have worked towards finding ways to economically and in an environmentally sound way to successfully harvest CCPs where their use is 'fit for purpose' and maximise CCPs stored for future generations”. Promoting CE solutions to problems in the present and future, whilst minimising harm to the environment.
"We hope that PWC report, once reviewed and elements have been adopted / endorsed by Minister Kean's Office -- it will further promote the value-added benefits that arise from the utilization and beneficiation of CCPs -- acting to correct the misconceptions that often surrounds CCPs".
“There’s always different views on what’s best way to maximise any resource… in my experience working around a common table, based on sound science, sound economics and facts we hope to work with all relevant stakeholders to find common sense solutions,” said Mr Heidrich.
In the coming months the Ash Development Association of Australia will work with Matt Kean MP, Minister for Energy & Environment, and his Department Policy advisers about the PWC report and key recommendatiosn.
“Our objective is simple, to reinforce what the association understands are the critical elements in the recommendations that we support and to provide the Minister with an evidence-based approach to understanding which recommendations have the highest probability of success,” he said.
To read the report and find out more, click here.