Adding words

CEO v Waroona Resources [2023] WASCA 73

Regulations exempted ‘asbestos containing material’6  – defined as ‘manufactured material … that, as part of its design, contains asbestos’ – from levy calculation.  Waroona said this should be read as including a mix of asbestos and soil where separation was impracticable.

Waroona argued that the levy’s purpose of encouraging recycling did not apply to asbestos, and that words should be read into the regulation.  This was rejected.  The proper emphasis is on statutory purpose, not on assumptions about what may be desirable.  The words argued for were not necessary nor was their omission an error7.  This case illustrates the difficulty in meeting the test for adding words8.

This principle is from Episode 99 of interpretation NOW!


6 reg 5(1)(i) Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Levy Regulations 2008.

7 Taylor [2014] HCA 9 (at [38]), Australian Unity [2018] WASCA 38 (at [87-91]).

8 Deleje [2023] QCAT 214 (at [20]), but see BBlood [2022] FCA 1112 (at [292]).