Minda commits to helping SA Group Enterprises grow

I am very pleased to advise you that at an Extraordinary General Meeting on Friday, 7th November 2014, the Board of SA Group Enterprises Incorporated endorsed an alliance with Minda which allows our social enterprise to continue operating.

An immediate cash injection from Minda will ensure ongoing employment for 75 supported workers as well as our wider workforce, and an additional round of funding will ultimately provide greater choice and employment opportunities for people with disability. 

SA Group Enterprises and Minda

What led up to this decision?

In 2013, SA Group Enterprises invested significant financial resources to increase the capacity of our recycling business, Aspitech, in readiness for an enormous growth in demand for e-waste recycling services.

The promise by the industry-funded National Television & Computer Recycling Scheme (NTCRS) to ‘provide all Australian householders and small businesses with access to free recycling services for televisions and computers’ failed to eventuate because of inadequate funding to meet this demand.

The result was closure of numerous collection points, stockpiling, dumping and in some cases off-shore processing. Closer to home, SA Group Enterprises lost 80% of its e-recycling workflow within a very short space of time and with virtually no warning.

The ongoing uncertainties of the NTCRS, combined with a breach of the spirit of a major contract by one of the Co-Regulatory Arrangements causing a cessation of recycling, saw SA Group Enterprises facing imminent closure and a bleak future. 

Successful media campaigning, combined with lobbying by industry, allowed Aspitech to secure new contracts with some of Australia’s leading recycling providers – which means we have an ongoing supply of viable tonnes of recycling for the remainder of FY2014/15.  

Our relationships with local, state and federal governments, industry representatives and waste management companies have been strengthened throughout the process, and will assist Aspitech to work towards lasting environmental and social outcomes.

The other good news is that the Federal Department of the Environment has committed to a 2015 amendment of the NTCRS regulations to avoid a repeat of the supply chain drying up because quotas have been rapidly reached, and we expect to see increased tonnages in 2015/16.

Electronics Recycling

Who should we thank?

It is always rewarding to learn who can be relied on when the going gets tough, and the immediate cash injection from Minda has allowed SA Group Enterprises to avoid a looming closure.

Media Release: Minda announces support plan for SA Group Enterprises (pdf 200.14 KB)

This has been the most difficult period in our history, and I have been humbled and impressed at how each and every one of our team has come to work, kept their head held high and done the best job they can.

Our families must also be thanked, with special recognition going to Chris Hygonnet, the mother of Aspitech employee Mike Hygonnet, who wrote tirelessly to government departments, politicians and the media to raise awareness of the negative flow-on effects of the failed scheme.

Andrew Wallace, manager of Aspitech, also displayed an outstanding effort as he worked hard behind the scenes with key industry groups including Community Recyclers Network, the National E-Waste Alliance, and National Disability Services to secure new contracts and explained the shortcomings to be addressed.

Media interest has also played an important part in bringing this issue to the attention of the community, and Richard Evans from The Advertiser, as well as Chris McLoughlin, Nicola Gage and Deb Tribe from the ABC for their support. 

The Hon. Ian Hunter MP, South Australian Minister for Sustainability Environment and Conservation, his staff and the team at ZeroWasteSA must be acknowledged for helping to get these critical issues out into the public domain. 

And finally, thanks go to the Hon. Greg Hunt, the Federal Minister for the Environment, his advisor Alex Caroly and other staff who worked quickly to respond to and adopt the recycling industry’s recommendations to amend the NTCRS, which has ensured the long term viability of the industry and the associated employment across Australia.

Advertiser_October_2014

SA Group Enterprises can now look forward to a bright future rather than having to make plans to close our doors, and each of you has played some role in making that dream come true.

Robert Hart, CEO
SA Group Enterprises Incorporated
November 2014

 

Media Contact: Adam Thomson, Leverage PR, M 0430 420 120, E adam@leveragepr.com.au