Industry calls for government action to halt interstate waste transport

Industry leaders are calling for coordinated action between the States and the Commonwealth to prevent landfill levy avoidance and the unnecessary transport of waste across State borders.

At the June 13 National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC) meeting members unanimously ratified a position to oppose all unnecessary transport of waste across state borders.

“Inter-jurisdictional variations in landfill levies are causing the unnecessary transport of large volumes of waste, particularly between NSW and South East Queensland,” said Phil Richards, Chair of the Council. “This regulatory issue is harming communities and undermining the development of new recycling infrastructure.”

“As a result we call on all State Governments and the Commonwealth to immediately put in place a solution to end this unnecessary and potentially unsafe practice.”  

Attending the June 13 NWRIC meeting were senior representatives from Australia’s national waste and recycling companies and representatives from a number of state industry associations.

The NSW EPA estimates more than 50,000 tonnes per month are being transported from Sydney to South East Queensland to avoid the payment of the NSW landfill levy. While waste transport into Queensland has received the most publicity – unnecessary waste haulage occurs everywhere there are landfill levy induced market distortions – such out of Victoria into regional NSW.

Across Australia, the NWRIC estimates that more than one million tonnes per year is being transported long distances simply to avoid landfill levies.

The NWRIC calls for urgent government action to remove the current incentives for the interstate transport. These calls have been previously been supported by fellow industry associations including; the Waste Management Association of Australia, the Australian Council of Recycling and the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW.

“Now is the time for governments to take action and to put in place a solution that ensures waste is treated as close to its point of generation as possible,” Mr Richards said.