Mackay Regional Council's Materials Recovery Facility at Paget
Mackay Regional Council's Materials Recovery Facility at Paget Stuart Quinn

Council to push for 'fairer' half-price option for waste tax

A GOVERNMENT levy on waste should be halved for regional Queenslanders, according to a "common sense" proposal Mackay Regional Council will push at a statewide conference.

The council will table two waste-related motions at the Local Government Association of Queensland conference, a major meeting of Queensland's 77 councils, in a bid to pressure the State Government to make a proposed waste levy fairer for regional Queensland.

The State Government's proposed levy will come into effect in 2019 at $70 per tonne of general waste to landfill, and cost as much as $150 per tonne for regulated waste - on top of rates already imposed by local councils. The levy is expected to increase by $5 a year for four years for general waste.

Cr Laurence Bonaventura said it was council's responsibility to challenge government on a tax created to prevent waste being shipped to Queensland across the border from New South Wales.

"Waste is not going to travel as high up as Mackay, so we think a $70 tonne levy is a great impost on our local residents," he said.

"Up in regional Queensland it should be no more than $35 a tonne.

"If the State Government is going to implement a levy state- wide one of the things that they want to do is rationalise the location where waste is transported to.

"Well some councils can never afford to meet that, so some of the money that they are collecting for the levy, we believe should be used to help more regional councils transport waste to single sites... or alternatively, being paid all the costs to transport it to a large regional processing facility."

The council will propose the government consider introducing a two-band levy system in line with NSW and Victoria, with different rates between metropolitan and regional areas.

They will further propose that waste generated by council be exempt from the levy.

Cr Bonaventura said these were ideas the government should have thought of from the beginning.

"I don't believe a great deal of consultation came to us prior to the government coming up with this decision, to have a single price throughout the state, so I believe again, that we need to push back and say have a look at this, it does not make sense," he said.

"They are big issues, make no bones about it, it is going to cost regional Queensland money."

Mayor Greg Williamson and Deputy Mayor Amanda Camm will be the council's official delegates at the LGAQ conference in Brisbane from October 29-31.

Cr Justin Englert, Cr Karen May, Cr Fran Mann and Cr Kevin Casey will attend as observers, at a cost to the ratepayer of $2790 per councillor.