'Trucking garbage to Queensland dangerously stupid'
RECYCLING will be destroyed and lives lost on North Coast roads if the State Government does not take urgent action to close the gap between Queensland and NSW waste costs, Lennox MP Catherine Cusack has told parliament.
The Liberal MLC said this week "Queensland is now a vortex sucking in NSW waste" and called on her government to stop pursuing "totally opposite policies" to its northern neighbours.
In July this year the Newman Government scrapped Queensland's $35 levy on each tonne of waste going to landfill.
The announcement coincided with a hefty hike in waste costs across NSW.
For residents in the Ballina Shire, where the cost went up from $31.10 to $42.40, sending landfill from the North Coast to Queensland suddenly went from being $3.90 more expensive, to $42.40 cheaper, Ms Cusack explained.
She said the financial incentive to transport waste to Queensland was "so compelling" hundreds of tonnes of contaminated waste from Bangaroo was now being trucked to Queensland landfills.
She also questioned the environmental, safety and economic sense in introducing a policy which encourages increased heavy vehicle traffic on a deadly stretch of highway and loss of revenue.
"It is anti-environment to dispatch fleets of B double trucks full of rubbish from Sydney to Queensland - It thwarts the very intention of the policy which is to promote recycling," Ms Cusack said"
"Do the maths. Our B Doubles can legally carry 40 tonnes per load. So Sydney Waste Contractors save $3,808 per truck by driving to Queensland. costs NSW taxpayers a fortune in foregone revenue. Every thousand tonnes of waste lost to NSW Landfill is a $95,000 loss to taxpayers.
"It is also a terrible thing to add thousands more truck trips to the Pacific Highway."
As a solution, Ms Cusack called on the government to rename the landfill the Waste Resource Tax and treat landfill like any other NSW resource - exempt from tax if it's supplied to recycling businesses but taxed if it's put into landfill.
She said applying the tax to the collection of waste rather than the dumping of waste ensure all waste moved to Queensland came at a cost and would remove the price incentive to cross the border without falling foul of free trade laws.
"Trucking garbage to Queensland is beyond bizarre - it is dangerously stupid," Ms Cusack said