Sunday, December 9, 2012

Queensland: The Dump State?

Back in July Loose Change queried the wisdom of the fast action by the then new State Gummint to deliver on its election promise to axe the waste levy: Queensland wasted: doing the sums for Trouty

This left Queensland lagging other states with similar levies to encourage recycling and more efficient landfill practices. There were some hyperbolic claims by the member for Barron River that the levy had been responsible for the death of the construction industry. Queensland has a poor record compared to other states when it comes to landfill and waste.

Concerns about cross border trade in waste were dismissed despite a hike in the NSW waste levy by the Liberal Gummint there. So it was interesting to this report today at the Sydney Morning Herald: More Sydney trash to be dumped in Queensland:

Drivers heading north on the Pacific Highway will be jostling a rising number of B-double trucks following a decision by the Queensland government earlier this year to remove a levy on waste going to landfill.
As a result, an increasing number of trucks are taking Sydney's trash up the Pacific Highway to dump it across the northern border, with the waste industry estimating 1,000 tonnes of waste a week, or around 25 B-doubles, is now on the highway.
Queensland's Liberal National Party undertook to remove the levy if it won its state elections in March, with the election promise implemented on July 1, when the levy was removed. At the same time, the waste levy in NSW rose a further 10 per cent to $95.20 a tonne.
"When the NSW levy was around $70 a tonne, there was no talk of shipping waste to Queensland, but that changed when the levy topped $80 a tonne," one senior industry figure said. "Now that the levy has topped $95 a tonne, trucks are on the road.
"The top end of town is now talking of establishing transfer stations to send waste north."
Geoff Gerard, business development manager at waste processor Sita Australia, said: "Queensland is now the dumping ground for NSW waste."
Not only general waste is being put on the road, but a rising volume of contaminated waste is also being shipped north, including an estimated 3,000 tonnes of waste from Barangaroo, the redevelopment site on the western side of Sydney's central business district.
Beware the laws of unintended consequences!

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