Queensland plans levy to cut waste movements

Levy considered to discourage interstate landfill being dumped in Queensland

Queensland plans levy to cut waste movements
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk


Queensland is planning to reintroduce a levy for dumping waste in the state’s landfill facilities, following the release of a report use of the facilities by interstate groups.

In 2011, the state government led by Anna Bligh had imposed a levy of $35 per tonne of waste deposited in landfill, but it was scrapped by the Campbell Newman-led Liberal-National government when it took office in 2012.

This in turn made it more attractive for companies in New South Wales to transport waste across the border, avoiding that state’s levy of $138 per tonne.

Some large construction companies are estimated to have transported more than 900,000 tonnes of waste into Queensland in the 2016-17 financial year alone.

The Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW told a NSW Parliamentary inquiry into heavy vehicle safety in February that it estimated the state was losing about $110 million in waste levies per year.

"In terms of road safety these waste movements represent an estimated 26,000 heavy vehicle truck movements per annum in each direction," the submission said.

"There are also chain of responsibility concerns to consider, including the risk to public safety with heavy vehicles travelling extremely long distances to avoid paying these waste levies."

Current Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government was developing a comprehensive waste and recycling strategy which she said would stem the tide of interstate waste flowing into Queensland.

"While this strategy will be underpinned by a waste levy, I can assure Queenslanders that it will incorporate measures to avoid costs for households," Palaszczuk says.

"We need to ensure that big construction companies and unscrupulous operators in the waste industry will no longer take advantage of Queenslanders."

She also pledges to establish a stakeholder advisory group to help develop the state’s waste management framework, using its advice and public consultation to develop the specifics of the levy arrangements.

Reports yesterday suggest that the government will consider a rebate or cost offset scheme.

Opposition leader Deb Frecklington has jumped on the proposal, labelling it a ‘wheelie bin tax’ that would hurt businesses and everyday Queenslanders.

"This levy will be a tax on every Queenslander and will impact every industry, from construction to manufacturing, tourism and hospitality," Frecklington says.

"The extra costs from the waste tax will inevitably be met by consumers."


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