Come Monday, 1 July, Queensland will enter a new era of waste management and resource recovery (WARR) with the reintroduction a waste levy, a long-awaited and anticipated move that will bring Queensland in line with all other mainland states.
Queensland may have to play catch up on a number of WARR fronts but the process the State Government has undertaken in the lead-up to the levy reintroduction is certainly one that other jurisdictions can and should learn from, says the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR).
WMRR CEO, Ms Gayle Sloan, who is in Brisbane today at the invitation of Minister for Environment, the Hon. Leeanne Enoch, to continue ongoing discussions that will assist in a smooth and successful levy commencement, said: “The Queensland Government and Minister Enoch in particular, must be acknowledged for their openness and willingness to listen to industry’s concerns and work with us throughout the levy implementation process. In doing so, the Government was able to minimise the impact on both industry and local government, for what is a significant and vital change for our industry.
“The Queensland Government did not rush into this but instead heeded the advice of stakeholders and provided time for industry and councils to make the necessary adjustments and prepare for the levy. These are important lessons that other jurisdictions should take on board in their review and decision-making processes.”
Queensland is also without a doubt the State that has offered the most incentives and discounts to drive remanufacturing and incentivise the use of recycled content, proving that the Government is genuine about shifting the Queensland paradigm from disposal to resource recovery - creating new jobs and investment for Queenslanders. The Government has also provided 105% in advance payments to Councils, which no other State has done.
“Over the last two years, there has been so much talk about what Australia needs to do to manage its waste and recover resources. Queensland has put its money where its mouth is by committing 70% of levy funds back into industry, effectively using the levy as a tool to drive investment in a bid to grow our essential sector and build a much-needed domestic remanufacturing sector,” Ms Sloan said.
“WMRR recognises change is not easy however, we know business as usual is not an option and we believe that the Queensland Government is to be congratulated for this move,” Ms Sloan added.
“Queensland has one of the highest generators of waste per capita and the lowest divertors of waste per capita; it has now taken real action to start making the structural shifts we need to create 9.2 jobs for every 10,000 tonnes we recycle, compared with the current reliance on disposal, which only creates 2.8 jobs.
“WMRR is urging the other States to take a leaf out of Queensland’s book and importantly, work together to drive real and tangible WARR outcomes that will continue to protect Australia’s environment and human health, boost the economy, and create thousands of jobs for everyday Australians.”