WMAA Response to QLD Waste Levy Bill 2018
20 September 2018
The Waste Management
Association of Australia (WMAA), the peak national body for the $15.5
billion waste and resource recovery industry, congratulates the
Queensland Government on the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Waste Levy)
and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, acknowledging that its
introduction is a much-needed step in moving Queensland away from a
“take, make, and dispose” model to a circular economy. However, WMAA is
disappointed that the Parliamentary Committee only allowed nine (9) days
for consultation on the Bill, considering the far-reaching impacts this
Bill would have.
“This is a vital
piece of legislation for our essential industry and it has impacts
throughout Queensland. It is not possible to conduct appropriate
thorough consultation with members throughout Queensland in these
timeframes,” said WMAA CEO, Gayle Sloan.
a longer consultation period would have been ideal, WMAA views the
introduction of the Bill by the Queensland Government as progress
towards catching up with the rest of Australia, and the developed world,
in moving towards a circular economy. The current linear approach has
adversely impacted Queensland in many ways, not the least of which is
making it difficult for resource recovery industries to invest,
depriving Queensland of the opportunity to create new jobs. After all,
for every one job involved in landfilling 10,000 tonnes of waste, more
than four (4) can be created by recycling the same material. The Bill
creates an opportunity for the State to make genuine gains that will
assist in the investment and development of the resource recovery
industry within Queensland.
acknowledges that the Queensland Government has listened to a large
number of concerns in drafting this Bill and recognises that the
Queensland approach does include more discounts and incentives for
industry than any other levy regime currently in Australia. Further good
attempts have been made to:
- incentivise the use of recycled material through levy discounts;
- assist MRFs that
have been impacted by changes in the global commodity market by
exempting their residuals from the levy for a transition period;
- address the transportation of leviable waste into non-levy areas of Queensland;
- manage the dumping of asbestos, by requiring it to be lawfully managed in order to achieve an exemption; and
- not adversely impact the management of landfill sites and their use of cover and other materials.
has provided a submission to the Parliamentary Committee for
Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment regarding this Bill and
outlined some key areas of concern and possible improvement.
one, the $5 million ‘levy readiness’grant funding from government
should be extended to all industry participants and not only to local
government as the challenges in meeting the 4 March 2019 levy start
date, including infrastructure upgrades and fee changes, are not unique
to local government.
funding should be offered on a 100% basis as the proposed 70/30 funding
split with local government will leave a shortfall in existing 2018/19
budgets, which is not ideal,” Ms Sloan added, “Further, any adjustment
to the levy should also occur in line with financial year and not
calendar year to avoid duplication of resources.”
present, there are local government contracts that allow operators to
extract recyclable materials from landfill tipping areas. These
contracts will become unlawful with the commencement of the Act due to
Section 38 of the Constitution. WMAA is urging Government to consider
alternatives to the current approach, particularly during the transition
to allow sites to amend their practices. One suggestion is to follow
NSW’s levy rebate system.
mandatory volumetric surveys will also add a financial impost on WMAA
members operating leviable sites and these costs should be fully
recovered under the available waste levy funds.
the Act includes more incentives for industry than any other levy
currently in Australia and the government should be applauded for that,
we must now ensure that unintended consequences such as site operators
being stuck with bad debts from those that avoid levy payments, and bona
fide contracts or the extraction of recyclables from contracts now
being unlawful as a result of the new proposed regime, are rectified
before the Bill’s final adoption,”Ms Sloan concluded.