Last chance to comment on the shape of Queensland's waste levy

13 Sep 2018

If you're in the waste sector in Queensland, or depend upon it, you should consider making a submission on the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Waste Levy) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018, which has been introduced into Parliament, and the consultation draft of the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Waste Levy) Amendment Regulation 2018.

The Bill has been referred to the Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment Committee for consideration. Interested companies and individuals must provide their public submissions on the Bill to the Committee by  4:00pm, Wednesday, 19 September 2018. The Committee will table its Report on 22 October 2018.

Submissions on the Regulation are due to the Department of Environment and Science by 15 October 2018.

The proposed start date for the levy is 4 March 2019.

So, how much is the financial disincentive?

The Bill proposes to amend the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 (Qld) to introduce a waste levy as a way of promoting waste avoidance through financial disincentive, and to discourage disposal to landfill as the first option. It is also intended to help improve waste management processes and recycling infrastructure throughout Queensland.

The Regulation prescribes the waste levy rate for certain types of waste, the method for calculating the different rates, and the local government areas that fall within the waste levy zone.

The individual amount of waste levy imposed on each type of levyable waste (L) will be determined by multiplying the weight (in tonnes) of the waste (A) with the applicable rate of the waste levy imposed that financial year for that type of waste (B) (ie. L = A x B). Schedule 1 of the Regulation provides a table outlining the respective waste levy rates for different types of waste from 2019 until 2022.

What waste is "levyable" and what waste is exempt?

Chapter 3 imposes the waste levy on "levyable" waste. The Bill defines levyable waste as waste, other than exempt waste, that is delivered to a levyable waste disposal site. The Bill allows for exemptions from the levy, or discounted levy rates, for particular types of waste.

There are a number of waste streams that are specifically detailed in the definition of "exempt waste". These include (but are not limited to):

  • waste from a declared natural disaster;
  • asbestos-contaminated waste;
  • dredge spoil; and
  • clean earth.

There are also a number of waste streams that can be exempted by application to the chief executive, including (but not limited to):

  • registered recycling charities' unusable waste donations;
  • waste collected at community events such as Clean Up Australia;
  • earth contaminated with a hazardous contaminant from land listed on the Environmental Management Register or Contaminated Land Register; and
  • biosecurity waste.

Lastly, the chief executive may declare certain waste to be exempt waste in exceptional circumstances, subject to any limits or conditions imposed.

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.