Mareeba Transfer Station Site Visit
Whilst the Contractor responsible for collection and removal of scrap metal will remove scrap vehicles, they must be drained of fluids and the battery removed prior to collection. Mareeba Shire Council have developed a relatively simple solution which involved the installation of a metal frame which the vehicle can be lifted on to and the tank drained from underneath and council officers were keen to see how it in action. During the site visit, council officers were given a quick run through of the process and there was also the opportunity to discuss the identification and separation of valuable metals such as copper and brass.
Turning Organic Waste into Fertilizer
I attended a seminar hosted by Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways Partnership at the end of April. The seminar was run in conjunction with Cairns Regional Council and was aimed at starting the conversation around how organic waste can be used as fertiliser. Whilst the majority of our region is already beneficial reusing biosolids to agriculture, this was also exploring the reuse of food waste as an alternative to fertiliser in order to move to a circular nutrient economy and reduce the use of mineral fertilisers. A copy of the presentation is available on request.
Biosolids and the End of Waste Code
The majority of the region’s biosolids are currently beneficially reused. The End of Waste Code will replace the current beneficial use arrangements and legislative requirements that are due to expire at the end of the year. LGAQ is representing local governments on a technical advisory panel looking at managing the reuse of biosolids. Arkwood Organic Recycling, the region’s biosolids contractor, is also a member of the panel. The panel will recommend the requirements for reuse as part of the End of Waste and it is important that the new arrangements are suitable for Councils. We have been liaising with Cr Ann Madderm from Fraser Coast Regional Council who is representing LGAQ and local governments on the panel. Cr. Maddern is also keen to hear direct from people dealing with biosolids about their issues. Please let me know if you would like anything passed on.
I also had the chance to accompany Arkwood recently for the day to experience first-hand the work that goes into removing biosolids from the numerous waste water treatment plants (WWTP) across our region. My day started out at Arkwood’s yard in Aloomba where I hopped into a very shiny (and very big!) new prime mover and headed to Cairns Regional Council’s Marlin Coast WWTP. The biosolids are collected on site in a hopper which is then transferred by conveyor belt directly into the trailer ready for transportation to the farm. Once at the farm, the biosolids are removed from the truck and put into a spreader for application. I was surprised by the sheer size of the paddock and the amount of biosolids required. Fortunately the biosolids are in constant supply - so far this year we have produced over 30,000 tonnes of biosolids regionally!
18/19 Bitumen Reseal
With the 17/18 nearly complete we have turned our attention to the 18/19 arrangements. Experience tells us that the earlier in the financial year works can get underway, the less likely we are to experience overall delays in delivery due to inclement weather. Council officers are therefore aiming for an early July contract commencement and Councils will be considering Council officer’s recommendations for contract award this month. Watch this space……
Just as the first documents developed under the Regional Contracts and Procurement Documentation project are being finalised we are already looking at other ways we can further improve consistency across our region, reduce administration and improve governance and probity in our procurement processes. VendorPanel is already in use by the majority of Councils to access Local Buy arrangements however they offer an additional service which enables Councils to manage all their supplier panels as well as seeking quotes from local suppliers that are not on an existing arrangements. They are in the process of talking directly to Councils who may be interested in upgrading the service they currently receive and we will continue to talk to Councils and VendorPanel regarding the additional services and benefits that may be available from a regional perspective.
Tendering for Local Government Business Workshop
This workshop is run by the Department of Development, Manufacturing Infrastructure and Planning and is aimed at local businesses and aims to help them maximise their chances of winning work, including major government projects. During the workshop, attendees learn about developing and submitting tenders including the interpretation of the standard terms and conditions. The presentation I deliver covers a brief overview of the Councils under FNQROC, the requirements of the Local Government Act and Regs and the tender process we all follow. From speaking to suppliers it is pretty evident that the different processes, requirements and documents used by a three levels of government is a challenge and I am certainly looking forward telling suppliers that FNQROC are moving to a standard suite of documents to be used by all Councils!