CCIQ commends State Government on no new waste levy

Tuesday 1 March, 2016 | By: Darrell Giles | Tags: waste levy, commercial waste, commercial and industrial users;

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) welcomes a decision not to reintroduce a commercial waste levy and urges the State Government to take it off the table permanently.

CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said Environment Minister Steve Miles should extend the measure beyond just this term of government.

“This is the correct decision and for certainty sake we would encourage the State Government to take any levy permanently off the table,” he said.

“The government’s commitment to not increase or introduce any new tax fee or charge provides certainty for the business community that in turn encourages investment and jobs.”

Mr Behrens said more needed to be done to reduce the amount of waste coming from southern states, but the reintroduction of a commercial waste levy was not the answer.

“It is a completely intolerable situation for those states to use SEQ as a dumping ground for their own waste. However, this should not be used as a Trojan horse for the reintroduction of a commercial waste levy,” he said.

“There are a number of lessons that must be learned from the previous waste levy experience and the model that was fundamentally flawed.

“While the levy was abolished the reduction in commercial waste fees to commercial and industrial (C&I) users was never refunded or taken off the customer bill. 

“The $35 per tonne costs for C&I waste and the $50-100 per tonne price for hazardous waste was never truly unwound as the commercial waste industry gouged the cost from users despite its removal.

“More importantly, the previous levy was grossly inequitable. Queensland was the only state in Australia where the waste levy applied only to businesses and not households.

Mr Behrens said the previous levy unfairly targeted businesses, when C&I contributed only 26 per cent to waste sent to landfill with households contributing 40 per cent. 

“If a future government was serious about reducing waste and protecting the environment, it would introduce a strategy that targets equally all members of the community, not just businesses.

“Queensland businesses already show a strong commitment to reducing waste and actively participate in available recycling and resource recovery programs.”

Mr Behrens said that if business was provided support and funding to help understand the opportunities and make changes to waste behaviours, this benefit would flow through to the whole community.

“Queensland must our get future waste policy and legislative framework right otherwise there will be unnecessary burden which will erode business viability, drive up prices on goods and services and cost Queenslanders' jobs,” he said.

“We need a waste strategy that protects the environment while also protecting Queensland jobs and the economy.”

He urged government to consult with small businesses before making any final decision on any waste strategy.

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