In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)

In a life threatening emergency dial Triple Zero (000)
ACT Public Hospitals

Canberra Hospital

5124 0000


Calvary Hospital

6201 6111

Mental Health

Call Mental Health Triage on

1800 629 354

(free call except from mobiles or public phones) or

6205 1065

Poisons Hotline

For a poison emergency in Australia call

131126

Drug and Alcohol Help Line

The Drug and Alcohol Help Line is available 24-hours, 7 days a week on

5124 9977

Health Protection Service

For after hours urgent public health matters including environmental health, radiation safety, food poisoning and communicable disease management phone:

(02) 6205 1700

healthdirect

24 hour health advice

1800 022 222

ACT State Emergency Service

Emergency help
during flood or storms

132 500

Waste strategies


ACT Waste Management strategy

The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) has released an updated ACT Waste Management Strategy.

Developed in consultation with the community, the ACT Waste Management Strategy 2011–2025 sets a clear direction for the management of waste in the ACT towards 2025.

The ACT was the first government in the world to set a goal of achieving no waste going to landfill. Launched in 1996, the Waste Management Strategy for Canberra was developed to set the vision and future directions for waste management in the Australian Capital Territory. The 1996 Waste Management Strategy for Canberra (PDF 133KB ) was the result of extensive community consultation which identified a strong desire to achieve a waste free society.

The strategy outlined objectives including the Canberra community working to reduce the amount of waste that they produce and for waste to be viewed as a resource, rather than garbage to be thrown into a landfill.

The strategy established a framework for sustainable resource management and lists broad actions which are needed to achieve the aim of a waste-free society. These include:

  • community commitment
  • avoidance and reduction
  • resource recovery
  • residual waste management
  • creative solutions.

Turning Waste into Resources

The ACT Waste Management Strategy cannot succeed without the full support of the wider community as it requires a culture shift, from thinking of unwanted materials as waste to be discarded, to thinking of unwanted materials as resources to be recovered. A range of strategies such as facilitating the development of alternatives to disposal, appropriate waste pricing and/or the development of regulation are needed to effectively reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and to maximise recovery. Waste generators need to take responsibility for the wastes they produce and this requires cultural and attitudinal change that can only be achieved through targeted community engagement, partnership and education programs.

ACT Waste Feasibility study

Roadmap and Recommendations

The ACT Government is considering a range of options to manage and minimise waste in the ACT and region now and into the future through the ACT Waste Feasibility Study.

The Study was established in mid-2015 to identify a pathway that would achieve the ACT’s waste management targets. This required an understanding of the complex and interconnected nature of waste management - involving almost every aspect of life in Canberra.

With the Study now concluded, the ACT Government has received its final recommendations at a time when public interest in waste management is high, with television programs like the ABC’s ‘War on Waste’ prompting necessary discussions on waste management issues.

You can review the final outcomes from the Study and the consultation report on the ‘Your Say’ website.

Waste Feasibility study

Waste Management development control code

The ACT Government is implementing a strategy that aims to maximise resource recovery and minimise waste disposal. With increased building activity occurring within the ACT, sustainable waste management solutions are needed.

The Development Control Code for Best Practice Waste Management in the ACT 2019 (PDF 4.4MB) and Waste and Recycling Management Plan (Editable PDF 1.6MB) directs development professionals on how to incorporate best practice waste management principles and requirements into the design, construction and operation of new developments. This Code replaces the 2016 version of the Code (PDF 6.7MB).

To assist applicants in calculating waste and recycling allocations, please see the Allocation Calculator (Excel 61KB)

To facilitate a transition to the new Code, development applications based around the requirements of the 2016 code will be accepted until Friday, 3 May 2019. While either the 2016 or 2019 Code may be used, the Code selected must be used in its entirety.

Any proposed deviation from the requirements of this Development Control Code must be approved in writing by Place Coordination prior to the submission of a Development Application.

Reports and audits

Mugga Lane Landfill Review

Waste levy

State and territory governments have primary responsibility for managing waste through legislation, policy, regulation, strategy and planning, as well as permitting and licensing of waste transport, storage, treatment and disposal operations.

Introducing a waste levy is consistent with the approach applied by other jurisdictions and the unified direction of Environment Ministers.

The ACT Government announced as part of the 2018-19 budget that ongoing investment in better recycling and waste management will be supported through a levy on disposal of waste, bringing the ACT into line with New South Wales and other Australian jurisdictions.

The levy will initially be a 2019-20 gate fee increase for legislative fees for waste disposal and applied to commercial customers who drop-off waste to be landfilled at ACT Government facilities. All fees will be indexed by the usual 2.5 per cent, plus an additional approximate 7 per cent for commercial waste.

Please note that ACT residential waste drop offs will not be affected.

National Waste policy

The 2018 National Waste Policy provides a framework for collective action by businesses, governments, communities and individuals until 2030. The policy was agreed by all jurisdictions at the Eighth Meeting of Environment Ministers on 7 December 2018.

The policy identifies five overarching principles underpinning waste management in a circular economy. These include:

  • Avoid waste
  • Improve resource recovery
  • Increase use of recycled material and build demand and markets for recycled products
  • Better manage material flows to benefit human health, the environment and the economy
  • Improve information to support innovation, guide investment and enable informed consumer decisions.

Ministers agreed, by their next meeting, to the urgent development of a strong, national action plan that includes appropriate funding, robust targets, and milestones to implement the 2018 National Waste Policy.

Ministers also agreed to strengthen the national action plan to address Environment Ministers’ waste priorities. These include reducing plastic pollution, supporting industry development, increasing demand for recycled materials through procurement, and a national approach to waste policy and regulation, for example in regard to cross-border transportation of waste, consideration of proximity principles, and a coordinated approach to waste levies on the mainland.

National Waste Policy (PDF 1.4MB)

Phasing out single-use plastic

Following consultation on the Phasing out single-use plastics discussion paper from April to July 2019, a Bill will be developed to phase out select problematic single-use plastic items where alternatives are readily available.

The Bill will support an immediate regulatory phase out of three key single-use plastic items:

  • single-use plastic cutlery
  • single-use plastic stirrers
  • single-use expanded polystyrene takeaway food and beverage containers.

The Bill will also require all ACT Government events to be single-use plastic free. This Bill will be complemented by non-regulatory measures, such as continued education and engagement. Options to trial single-use plastic free precincts will also be explored.

A Next Steps Policy Document PDF 8MB) on phasing out single-use plastics has been released, outlining a decisive but staged approach to manage plastic waste that will minimise the impact of this regulatory reform to industry, business and the community.

In addition to the items listed above, the document also notes the government’s intention to phase out single-use plastic straws, fruit and vegetable ‘barrier bags’ and oxo-degradable plastic products 12 months after the initial regulatory ban.

In the longer term, consideration will be given to phasing out other items that do not yet have clear alternatives that are better for the environment. These other items may include plastic-lined single-use coffee cups and lids, single-use plastic dinnerware, cotton ear buds (with plastic sticks) and other single-use plastic products.

The ACT Government will continue to work closely with the community, local business and organisations to implement the phase out. We will consider exemptions that may need to be in place should single-use plastic alternatives be unsuitable for some community members, such as people with a disability, and will consult with these groups during policy implementation.

Further information on phasing out single-use plastic will be added to this page over the coming months.

Visit the YourSay website for more information on the discussion paper and the consultation process.