Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Queensland: still the dump state

Back in 2012 I did a couple of posts on the policy of the newly elected LNP gummint to dump the Qld waste levy which had only been recently introduced: Queensland wasted: doing the sums for Trouty ; Queensland: The Dump State?

The member for Barron River (Donald Trout?) was particularly hyperbolic and blamed the levy for everything from inflation to an alleged collapse of the construction industry. Another rejection from the political right of market based pigovian taxes which should really form part of their core policy approach in a rational world.

It was actually a sound policy and its dumping left Queensland as the only state without some form of pricing policy for waste dumping to landfill. This resulted in reports of interstate arbitrage from NSW where the Liberal gummint had only recently hiked their waste levy:
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.

Dumping over the border was a bit controversial at the time with calls for measures to prevent this. I hadn't heard anything since so presumed some solution may have been found but apparently not: Queensland could fine NSW businesses for dumping
NSW businesses bringing rubbish across the border to dump it in Queensland could soon be fined.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said fines were one of the ways the government was looking at to address the problem.
The practice developed after the former Newman government scrapped a $35-a-tonne waste levy, making it cheaper for NSW business to bring their rubbish over the border to dump it in Queensland.
Ms Palaszczuk has ruled out replacing the levy during this term of government, given Labor's election commitment to introduce no new taxes.
"I am concerned about the amount of trucks and rubbish that are coming from NSW into Queensland, so ... maybe we need to look at fines," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"This is a serious matter and I'm prepared to look at that."

One would think taxes (and fines?) targeted against another state may involve constitutional issues? Perhaps a solution is to simply implement a sound pricing policy again but that may take a gummint with a modicum of guts?

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