Waste management strategy is designed to increase recycling rates in Queensland and prevent dumping from interstate.
Waste management strategy is designed to increase recycling rates in Queensland and prevent dumping from interstate. Contributed

Waste levy increased under decision to delay start

THE next phase of Queensland's waste management strategy has been announced by the State Government, underpinned by a waste levy.

Environment Minister, Leeanne Enoch said the government was moving ahead with its comprehensive waste management strategy with changes proposed after consultation with major stakeholders.

She said 70 per cent of revenue raised from the levy would go back to councils, the waste industry, startup schemes and environmental programs.

"We know Queenslanders care about recycling and want to make a difference in waste management," Ms Enoch said.

"As part of that commitment, $6 million in extra funding will expand the Community Sustainability Action Grants Program, which funds environmental projects to encourage real change in Queensland communities."

The extra funds will expand the program to cover waste, koala conservation and the threatened species programs.

A Resource Recovery Industries Roadmap and Action Plan will receive $1 million.

A further $6 million will go towards a regional recycling transport assistance program with $1.8 million to expand the ecoBiz program to help small businesses reduce waste and $2 million to support the construction industry.

Earlier this year, the State Government announced work on a new waste management strategy for Queensland to increase recycling, improve investment in the sector and create new jobs.

"Queensland has one of the worst recycling rates in the country," Ms Enoch said.

"Every year about 55 per cent of our waste is sent to landfill - that's over 5 million tonnes.

"This amount of rubbish would fill the Gabba nearly 18 times. We need to change that by working with industry, local government and the community."



Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch was in Bundaberg for a forum discussing the waste solution for Australia.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch at a forum discussing the waste solution for Australia. Ashley Clark

During consultation, locals councils asked for a later start date for the introduction of a waste levy which has now been put back to July 1, 2019 to ensure implementation is as smooth as possible for councils and industry.

Delaying the start of the levy and changing the increment dates required the Government to adjust the waste levy rate to ensure Queensland doesn't fall further behind other states.

The levy rate will start at $75 per tonne, but the first increase in levy rates will not be for 12 months.

Advance payments to councils will ensure no-one would have to pay more to put out their wheelie bins every week.

"The Palaszczuk Government has banned single-use plastic bags, and Queensland's container refund scheme has already seen more than 10 million containers returned for recycling," Ms Enoch said.

"These reforms are all about improving how we manage waste in Queensland."

LGAQ CEO, Greg Hallam, said the waste levy would help Queensland advance toward a zero waste future by 2035 and said the July 1 start date, even if it meant a slightly higher rate, was exactly what councils had asked the government for and it was good news for Queensland councils.

thanked the state government for responding to councils' request for more time.

"The government has worked cooperatively with us every step of the way and we're pleased to have reached a practical and pragmatic outcome that will ensure local governments are ready for the waste levy.

"A 1 July start date, even if that means a slightly higher rate, is exactly what we asked government for, and it's good news for Queensland councils.

"The waste levy will help us advance toward a zero waste future by 2035 and we thank the government for listening to our concerns about timing," Mr Hallam said.

CEO of Waste Recycling Industry Queensland, Rick Ralph said he understood more time for councils also meant more time for industry to be ready and for the right regulatory structures to be put in place.

"The waste and recycling industry is getting on with the job of preparing for the waste levy and we'll continue to work closely with the government to ensure the levy is implemented well," he said.

Minister Enoch said the introduction of a waste levy would bring Queensland in line with other Australian states.

"Queensland used to have a waste levy, but it was recklessly scrapped by the LNP," Ms Enoch said.

"This robbed Queensland of the opportunity to invest in recycling and other waste management industries, and created an influx of trucks dumping waste here from other states."