It's time to take a stand on waste to Queensland

Date: 12 Aug 2014

It's time to take a stand on waste to Queensland

The failure to address ongoing waste shipments to Queensland is a losing situation for jobs, the environment and industry argues Ian Malouf.

First, some facts about the NSW levy. In NSW landfilled waste is subject to a levy imposed by the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (1997). It currently stands at over $120 per tonne.

The landfill levy started in 1971, to cover the Metropolitan Waste Management Authority’s administration costs for landfills in Sydney.

This stayed at 56 cents per tonne until 1991 when the then Waste Management Authority increased it to $2 per tonne to cover the cost of giving a $20 per tonne incentive to Sydney Councils under a 5-year programme to encourage recycling from kerbside collections.

This highly popular and successful programme trebled the amount of recycling from Sydney kerbside collections in three years from about 80,000 to 240,000 tonnes per annum. In other words, the levy preferences resource recovery over landfilling.

The EPA took over administration of the levy from 1993 and the subsequent increases in the levy continued to be aimed at the practical issue of making resource recovery more economically viable than landfilling.

Between 1993 and today the levy has grown to over $120 per tonne, a 21,000 percent increase over 20 years. Nevertheless the levy has done its job. Recycling has reached an all-time high.