8698.0 - Waste Management Industry, Australia, 1996-97  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/11/1998   
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November 30, 1998
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

ABS waste management survey sheds light on significant industry

Australia's waste management industry disposed of 26.7 million tonnes of solid, sludge and liquid waste during 1996-97 at a cost of $2.2 billion, a first-time survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed.

At the end of June 1997, there were 1,023 private and public trading businesses and 704 general government organisations (mostly local government authorities) involved in the waste management industry in Australia. These organisations employed a total of 14,847 people.

The 1,023 private and public trading businesses earned total income of $1,493 million during 1996-97, of which the two major sources were the collection and transport of waste ($876 million) and the treatment/processing and/or disposal of waste ($380 million). Construction and demolition waste ($498 million) and municipal waste ($248 million) were the main types of waste collected and transported. In comparison, general government organisations received the majority of their waste activity income (66%) from the treatment/processing and/or disposal of waste.

Labour costs of $369 million represented 27% of the total expenses ($1,351 million) of private and public trading businesses. The average labour cost per employee of these businesses was $39,200. While general government organisations spent 18% ($154 million) of their waste management expenses on wages and salaries, their major expense was the contracting out of waste management services of $420 million.

The private and public trading businesses recorded an operating profit before tax of $142 million which represented an operating profit margin of 9.6%. There were 11 businesses employing 100 or more people and while these 11 businesses contributed 56% of total industry income, their operating profit margin was 8.2%, just below the industry average. Businesses employing 5-19 persons had the highest (16.5%) operating profit margin.

The 21.2 million tonnes of solid waste received was disposed of at landfills. The distribution was fairly equal between privately operated landfills (10.8 million tonnes) and government operated landfills (10.5 million tonnes).

More details are in Waste Management Industry, Australia 1996-97 (cat. no. 8698.0) available from ABS bookshops. Main features of the publication are available from this site.