Lauren Haas Jones

The waste industry looks set to become a bigger employer in 2021 as the federal government’s $1 billion Recycling Modernisation Fund comes into play.

In Victoria, the state government has chipped in for a $46 million recycling infrastructure initiative in total.

Earlier this month $8.1 million was announced for seven glass and plastics projects for the first round of funding, which is expected to create 350 jobs

The funding is going to mix of conventional recycling technology – such as a new metropolitan processing plant for glass and a regional facility to separate glass kerbside co-mingled material – and next generation upcycling tech such as equipment to produce a new patented system for concrete slab foundations made from 100 per cent recycled plastic.

Job movements

With the new year – and new decade – comes new blood and vigour (well, the best we can muster after last year’s challenges).

Top of mind for many is new jobs.

At the Greater Sydney Commission, a reshaped team is getting set for a big year.

There’s new chief executive Elizabeth Mildwater, who started on 18 January, environment and economics commissioners Emma Herd and Jackie Taranto, and our fabulous now-former planning contributor Tim Sneesby who’s been seconded from Waverley Council for a year.

(Tim will be greatly missed from public debate in these pages, where he deftly skewered the persistent silliness of parts of the property industry that insist that lack of supply is the dominant reason housing is too expensive for so many people – among other debatable claims. And, yes, to salve our loss, here’s an open invitation to other similarly minded and talented planners to step up and take his place. There are so few in the profession willing to call it as they see it these days thanks to the potential to offend someone or other at the increasingly critical intersection of our urban/sustainable/climate future and deep and powerful interests.)

Among the big jobs on hand for the GSC this year will be review of the Greater Sydney Plan, which may well mean a backflip on the notion that putting another 1.3 million people in Western Sydney is a good idea. Especially now that temperatures routinely nudge 50 degrees Celsius in peak summer and now that some people are flagging that it could be time to start building underground.

This review by the way has been fast tracked a bit at the request of the premier Gladys Berejiklian, who seems to have an excellent knack for reading the room. There’s also another premier’s request to deal with: planning for the precincts of Westmead, Macquarie Park, Meadowbank Tech Central and the Central Coast – the latter no doubt in response to the growing migration from city regions since Covid and the huge commute times for so many people especially from this area. The job will be the usual for the regions – how to attract business and jobs and possibly a new university.

We’re not sure if GSC’s planning skills will be called on to help with other growing regional areas but it certainly can’t hurt to foster stronger city/country connections.

Ms Mildwater is well placed to negotiate government corridors. She hails from a background in Transport for NSW, where she was deputy secretary, people and corporate services. And she comes with a legacy f work on an integrated transport services for Greater Sydney. In welcome news we understand she’s also a keen supporter of public transport, walking and cycling, women’s safety, zero emission buses and keeping people moving during COVID.

In other jobs news:

Economist and high profile economics commentator Nicki Hutley who’s been at Deloittes, Urbis and KPMG has been appointed as a councillor at the Climate Council, where she wil be focused on making the strong business/economic case for climate action. She also has a part time role with Social Outcomes, which measures the impact, including economic,  of social investment programs, especially for the benefit of government so it can be assured its investments are well placed.

Ben Peacock’s Republic of Everyone has snared Lauren Haas Jones as head of sustainability for his team’s expanding work in strategy. Ms Haas Jones was with Multiplex for about eight years and has also worked with Impact Investment Group and the Next Economy, amid a variety of consulting, advisory and speaking roles not the least calling on her experience in a trans-Australian walk with her professional adventurer husband Justin Jones and one year old first child Morgan.

Mr Peacock, who has been MC at several events for The Fifth Estate, said work in the strategic field was expanding strongly.  Ms Haas Jones will work from home, which is now on a 600 acre farm in Tasmania’s Bruny Island. Remote working is no longer a problem, she says and is increasingly embraced by corporates and of course there’s the option of travel as border open.

Pip Harley previously at the City of Sydney and most recently at Dexus has snared her “dream job” she tells us as program director at the Business Renewables Centre-Australia (BRC-A). That’s after a background that includes working on the NSW government’s Sustainability Advantage program, which assists businesses to adopt a sustainable business model, and in social sustainability as manager at Dexus.

Dr Farshid Pahlevani has been appointed the industry and impact manager at the Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub, which is part of the National Environmental Science Program. The hub, led by Professor Veena Sahajwalla from the University of New South Wales, has a budget of $17 million to do research on reducing plastic waste and other related topics.

Australian architecture practice Hames Sharley has appointed Andrew Mailler as the new principal of finance for the national practice.

The chartered accountant has worked across multiple different sectors, including his most recent job at banking software company Data Action in Adelaide. He’s also worked at IKEA, Bridgestone, Minter Ellison and Deloitte.

He’s also on the board for the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Joelle Chen has been appointed as sustainability director at Lendlease Singapore. She was formerly program director at Beca.

Our pick of the jobs

Here’s your chance to ensure that Maitland, the home of the award winning Maitland Riverlink project, is a sustainable community. The Maitland City Council is looking for a principal sustainability officer.

The Whitehorse City Council in Melbourne’s east is also on the hunt for a sustainability officer.

McConnell Dowell, a major engineering, construction, building and maintenance contractor, is hiring a senior sustainability advisor. The gig is based in Melbourne.