Qld Govt releases directions paper for new waste strategy
The Queensland Government is moving forward on its comprehensive waste management strategy, today releasing a directions paper for public consultation.
The strategy was originally announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk back in March, following an investigation into the transfer of interstate waste into Queensland led by Justice Peter Lyons QC. A key component of the strategy will be the introduction of a waste levy, but Acting Premier Jackie Trad has assured voters that the strategy will incorporate measures to avoid costs for households.
“When we accepted the recommendations of Justice Peter Lyons’ report, which included the introduction of a waste levy, the Palaszczuk government promised that it would not cost Queenslanders any more to put out their wheelie bins,” Trad said.
“This directions paper will include details of how the government will ensure households will not face extra costs when putting out their wheelie bins every week.”
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said the directions paper sets out the Palaszczuk government’s long-term vision to attract investment, develop new industries and grow jobs across the state in the waste and recycling sector.
“The challenges currently facing the waste and resource recovery industry, including the decision by China to restrict recycling material, have demonstrated that we need Queensland-based solutions for our waste, as we transition towards a circular economy,” she said.
The directions paper proposes that a general waste levy will commence in the first quarter of 2019 and will initially be set at $70 per tonne of general waste sent to landfill. Enoch said that, as well as encouraging recycling, the waste levy would facilitate job creation and market development, particularly in regional areas.
“While every 10,000 tonnes of waste disposed into landﬁll supports less than three full-time jobs, the same amount of waste being recycled supports more than nine jobs,” she said.
“This price signal will give industry the confidence to invest in alternative and innovative recycling technologies to grow the sector and create jobs.”
A Stakeholder Advisory Group, which is currently in the process of contributing to the development of the waste strategy, is reviewing the directions paper and will continue to provide input and advice to government. Meanwhile, by releasing the paper for public consultation, Trad said Queenslanders will have “the opportunity to help shape the future of the state’s waste and recycling industry”.
“This directions paper highlights the huge opportunity to change the way Queensland manages its waste now and into the future,” she said.
The Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) has welcomed the reintroduction of the waste levy as part of the new approach to the management of waste and resource recovery in Queensland, and looks forward to working closely with government in developing the detail of both the policy and the levy.
The association said it is vital that government listen to both industry and the community in finalising this detail, as there are significant issues with the current waste and resource recovery policy and legislation in Queensland — particularly in relation to its treatment of licensed sites, application for resource recovery facilities and regulation of sites.
The WMAA believes the government has a great opportunity to develop a robust and dynamic resource recovery industry in the next five years, and create the jobs and investment required if it creates the correct policy and legislative settings required. This means that it needs to ensure that industry has certainty in both planning and regulation and the current impediments to doing business well in Queensland are removed.
The association also welcomes the government’s commitment to creating a circular economy within Australia by encouraging redesign, reduction, re-use, recycling and remanufacturing. The last piece of the puzzle is a harmonised approach to create a circular economy, wherein Australia can develop onshore local markets and create local employment.
To view the Transforming Queensland’s Recycling and Waste Industry Directions Paper, visit the Queensland Government website.
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