Waste levy to reduce QLD interstate waste

The Queensland Government has revealed a strategy to reduce waste from being carted from New South Wales to Queensland, following a spate of accidents.

In late 2017, the Waste Contractors & Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA) raised concern over a flurry of truck accidents over the preceding months.

WCRA said reports provided to the association indicate factors such as poor maintenance of vehicles, fatigue management, inappropriate equipment choices and low pay rates are responsible for many of these accidents.

“Unless there is action from the New South Wales Government, it is possible that over a million tonnes of waste per annum will find its way north to Queensland in 2018,” WCRA Executive Director Tony Khoury said.

It comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk released the final report and recommendations of the 2017 three-month investigation into the transfer of interstate waste into Queensland, led by Justice Peter Lyons QC.

The government is also releasing its response to the report, which was commissioned last year. Off the back of this report, the government revealed its strategy will be underpinned by a waste levy, which Palaszczuk said would avoid costs for households.

“Following the findings and recommendations from Justice Lyons’s report, my government is developing a comprehensive waste and recycling strategy that will stem the tide of incoming interstate waste and set the direction for sustainable waste management in Queensland,” Palaszczuk said.

“We will also establish a Stakeholder Advisory Group, with representatives from industry, to help develop Queensland’s waste management framework.”

Palaszczuk said the results of public consultation and feedback from the Stakeholder Advisory Group would inform the specifics about the levy arrangements.

“We did have a levy in Queensland but in 2012 it was recklessly scrapped by the LNP, which made Queensland a cheap place to dump.”

Palaszczuk said the government will consult with Queenslander as it finalises the design of what it says is a comprehensive waste strategy.

Commenting on the waste levy announcement, Khoury said that while Queensland may be introducing a waste levy, it is imperative that operators continue to strive to improve their our own waste management regulations within New South Wales.

“The NSW waste levy has clearly subsidised the long distance transport of waste from New South Wales to Queensland,” said Khoury. “However, a really bad outcome would be for the New South Wales waste levy to now subsidise the transport of waste to other jurisdictions. To this extent, WCRA will continue to work with the NSW EPA to identify and address any other perverse waste levy outcomes.”

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