Ashley WatsonAshley Watson Chair of KESAB

Report from the Chair

I noted in my Chairman’s report last year, and I want to highlight again, KESAB’s commitment to the South Australian community through our environmental sustainability education programs. Such education is fundamental to our schools and our community as the world around us transforms through technology and innovation which impact on the sustainability of our world.

The environmental education delivered by KESAB is tailored and contemporary, focussing on a “hands on” approach delivering action, participation and behavioural change. We deliver this through our team of committed educators and I want, at the outset in this report, to thank them all for the very real difference they are making at a grass roots level in this State.

During the last year, we have seen significant strategic and regulatory change by government and an expectation the community will embrace these changes in our already crowded lives.

Transformation to renewable energy resources means many are feeling the impacts on household costs, striving for lower emissions and carbon neutral targets, engaging with waste reform underpinning our new “Circular and Green Economy” and placing increased value on resource recovery and landfill diversion are all embraced in the scope of KESAB’s day to day activities.

As South Australia’s leading independent sustainability educator, KESAB will continue to deliver penetrating and relevant programs, always in engagement with the community.

Achieving outcomes against income received is always challenging and KESAB is continually reviewing the scope of its programs and its capacity to deliver in a context of constrained funding.

This is at the top of our priorities as we develop our 2017 – 2020 Strategic Plan.

KESAB has built community capacity by working closely with government agencies and private sector stakeholders. Outcomes achieved on sometimes marginal funding from these sources have value added to environmental improvement, education and action, we estimate, at millions of dollars each year.

However, there is no doubt funding to deliver consistent sustainability, education and community engagement through our flagship programs such as Wipe Out Waste, Council and Community Waste Diversion and Recycling, and Litter Research, needs to be increased to ensure quality is sustained, and the South Australian Waste Strategy (2015-2020) targets are achieved, ensuring South Australia retains its credentials as the leading State in Australia on these matters.

South Australia celebrates 40 years of Container Deposit Legislation this year but there still remain areas that do not have access to collection systems. As other States are at last embracing CDL, South Australia needs to maintain its position as an exemplar of how this is done.

During the year, the “Dob in a Litterer” enforcement program was legislated which, while demonstrating some initial success, needs to be the subject of raised public awareness and profile to achieve the level of success that is evident with such programs implemented in other States.

Funds collected through the Waste Levy in South Australia are underpinning engagement necessary to facilitate education, technological and innovative changes as the Circularly Economy develops.

However, much more from the fund could be applied to the kind of programs KESAB delivers in partnership with State and Local Government, schools and community. To do so would deliver much greater engagement, better community practices and increased diversion of waste from landfill.

We urge the government to consider increasing investment in programs such as KESAB delivers for the benefit of South Australia as a whole.

As I have noted in the past, bodies such as KESAB “punch above their weight” and allow both government and private enterprise to deliver real engagement in ways that are not otherwise achievable.

In conclusion, I want to express our sincere thanks to our Minister the Hon. Ian Hunter MLC who continues to demonstrate his genuine interest and support of all we stand for, to my fellow Board members who bring a talented and a multi-skilled team to managing the direction of KESAB and to our Executive Director John Phillips who continues to bring his commitment, networks and skill to the organisation. Last, but my no means least, to all our staff who deliver our activities with pre-eminent skill and flexibility.