In March 2020, the Australian, State and Territory Governments, and the Australian Local Government Association, as members of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed that the export of waste of glass, plastic (including processed engineered fuel), tyres and paper and cardboard be regulated by the Australian Government.

To enable the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) decision on a ban on the exports of waste plastic, paper, tyres and glass, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (formerly the Department of the Environment and Energy) prepared a Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) titled Phasing out exports of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres for COAG consideration.

The RIS concluded there was no public interest in including paper and cardboard as part of any export restriction based on net loss of $257 million to Australia and in excess of $1.56 billion in costs to the Australian paper and cardboard industry.

This report examines this cost in order to put forward a compelling economic and societal case to abandon moves to include paper and cardboard in the export ban. NWRIC has relied extensively on the RIS to highlight the economic cost of Australia’s Paper and Cardboard Waste Export Restrictions. NWRIC highlights that based on the RIS prepared for COAG and its core role in the Waste Export Ban legislation being passed, paper and cardboard should never have been included in the export ban. Since its preparation the individual cost and benefit components of the cost benefit analysis have only further increased the anticipated overall loss to the paper and cardboard industry.