New Queensland waste and recycling strategy to bring back levy

The Queensland Government has announced plans for a comprehensive waste and recycling strategy following the release of the final report and recommendations of an investigation into the transfer of interstate waste into Queensland, led by Justice Peter Lyons QC.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said strategy will be underpinned by a waste levy, which was removed by the previous LNP government.

“We need to ensure that big construction companies and unscrupulous operators in the waste industry will no longer take advantage of Queenslanders.”

“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.

“That action also resulted in a number of lost economic opportunities for the local waste industry in terms of investment and employment."

The plan will replace the existing waste strategy: Queensland Waste Avoidance and Resource Productivity Strategy (2014–2024)

A Stakeholder Advisory Group, with representatives from industry, will be established to help develop the waste management framework.

Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government’s strategy looked at longer term solutions, and the need to increase recycling.

“It is estimated that 2.8 jobs are supported for every 10,000 tonnes of waste that goes to landfill. But if that same waste was recycled, that would support 9.2 jobs,” Ms Enoch said.

“Queensland underperforms in waste recovery and we need to change that.

“Currently, Queensland produces approximately 5.5 million tonnes of waste that ends up in landfill. In 2016-17, nearly 1 million of that was interstate waste.”

Minister Enoch said that the introduction of a levy would create a price signal to the market to encourage increased recycling and attract new investment into the industry in Queensland.

A Queensland Treasury Corporation report into economic opportunities for Queensland’s waste industry; the Recycling and Waste in Queensland 2017 report; and a draft terms of reference for a Stakeholder Advisory Group have also been released.

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