Waste levy to stop dumping in Qld
A NEW Queensland industrial waste levy aims to stop Northern Rivers councils and ‘cowboy operators’ crossing the border to use Sunshine State rubbish tips.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced the major overhaul of her State’s waste management system last week, which included the $35 per tonne business waste levy.
“We need a waste management system where recycling is the default option over landfill and Queensland is no longer seen as a viable destination for interstate dumpers,” she said.
Queensland’s Acting Environment Minister, Annastacia Palaszczuk, singled out the Ballina and Byron councils, saying they had been considering using Queensland tips for economic reasons – and NSW businesses that were already crossing the border to dump waste.
“We need this industry levy to stop other states dumping their waste in Queensland,” she said.
“We definitely don’t want to see these cowboy operators bringing their waste into Queensland.”
However, Byron Shire Council’s waste and recycling manager, Russell Chaplin, said the shire’s waste now went into the Myocum landfill and that the council hadn’t used Queensland tips since 2003.
“The Myocum landfill was further extended in 2007 with the opening of the southern expansion,” he said.
“The only reason council would consider taking its rubbish interstate was if it could not get approval for a new waste site within the shire and there were no other viable options within the region,” Mr Chaplin said.
Ballina Shire mayor Phillip Silver ‘wasn’t displeased’ with the move by Queensland, despite his council previously considering taking waste north.
“We were advised that due to economies of scale it was a better option,” he said. “Maybe now those big South-East Queensland tips aren’t available it’s a good time for local councils to consider a joint waste facility that has those economies of scale and good environmental outcomes.”
Cr Silver said it might also be time to consider a single Northern Rivers authority to handle bulk potable water, natural resource management, Richmond River water quality and waste management.
Lismore City Council’s commercial services manager, Phil Klepzig, said his council was currently diverting half its waste to landfill and aimed to reduce that.
“From council’s point of view the introduction of waste levies across the border evens the playing field for waste operators and will return the focus on resource recovery rather than waste disposal,” he said.
“Regional co-operation in a real sense in waste operations will be required to achieve the economies of scale necessary to afford high-tech waste processing options.”