The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and industry members are calling on the Queensland Government to take action on illegal dumping following a Parliamentary committee recommendation that the latest waste Bill be enacted into law without changes.
The Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment Committee approved a Bill introducing a waste levy that would commence on 4 March 2019, be set at $70 per tonne of general waste sent to landfill and affect 90% of Queensland’s population.
QFF President Stuart Armitage said QFF was calling on government to implement a strengthened policy and an enforced regulatory framework to ensure that landowners were not victims of illegally dumped waste; and where illegal dumping does occur, that landowners did not bear the levy costs.
“QFF has repeatedly raised concerns about the likelihood of increased illegal dumping – on both public and private land,” Mr Armitage said.
“Farmland provides opportunities for unscrupulous operators to avoid landfill fees and the levy by illegally dumping waste, leaving the landowner to not only pay for the clean-up costs but the levy as well in the prescribed local government areas.”
“While the Department of Environment and Science and the Committee supported QFF’s position on higher penalties for illegal dumping offences, the provisions in the Bill do not go far enough and are meaningless where the polluter cannot be identified.”
QFF has also raised concerns the new tax would make waste disposal more expensive for all businesses including Queensland’s agricultural sector.
“There is a lack of awareness of the impacts this new tax will have on waste generators and businesses, particularly farmers who are unable to pass on the increased operating costs,” Mr Armitage said.
These impacts need to be properly costed and addressed by decision-makers, and the gaps in the proposed regulation of illegally dumped waste closed.”