26 February 2019
In 2016-17, 912,000 tonnes of waste were transported from other States for disposal in Queensland. In response, the Queensland Government has passed legislation to introduce a waste levy commencing in July 2019.
The levy will commence on 1 July 2019.
The waste levy applies to waste generated in or disposed of in the 39 local council areas designated by regulation as in the ‘waste levy zone’. The zone includes all of South-East Queensland and covers 90% of Queensland’s population.
The levy will be charged on waste produced in the non-levy zone if it is disposed in the levy zone. Any waste brought from interstate will be charged the levy, regardless of where it is disposed of in Queensland.
The levy will not apply to waste generated for an environmentally relevant activity that is disposed of at a facility operated for the sole purpose of disposing that waste.
The levy will be paid by the operator of the waste disposal site. Presumably, operators will pass on the levy to disposers.
Ratepayers should not face any additional costs for household waste. The State government has promised to pay a 105% rebate to local councils for the cost of disposing of waste. However, the State government will withhold these payments if councils do not inform ratepayers of the rebate or provide false or misleading information about it.
The definition of “waste” includes “left over … from an industrial, commercial, domestic or other activity”. “Levyable waste” is defined as “waste, other than exempt waste, that is delivered to a levyable waste disposal site.”
Construction waste would likely be regarded as left over from a commercial activity, classifying it as waste. Except where construction waste is “exempt waste” (such as asbestos-contaminated waste and dredge spoil, which would be subject to other legislative disposal requirements, or clean earth), construction waste will therefore be subject to the waste levy at the point of disposal.
Disposers must advise disposal site operators of:
Failing to disclose this information or knowingly providing misleading information may result in a fine of up to $39,165.
The levy rate will vary depending on the kind of waste that is disposed. The rate will be set by regulation and will increase by $5 per year each year. The following rates will initially apply:
Type of waste
Waste levy rate—2019-20
Waste levy rate—2020-21
Waste levy rate—2021-22
General waste: commercial waste, domestic waste, recyclable waste and any other excluding regulated waste
$75 per tonne
$80 per tonne
$85 per tonne
Category 1 regulated waste
$155 per tonne
$160 per tonne
$165 per tonne
Category 2 regulated waste
$105 per tonne
$110 per tonne
$115 per tonne
Category 1 and Category 2 regulated waste are defined in Schedule 7 of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008 (Qld).
Where different types of waste are mixed, the disposer will be charged for all of the waste at the rate of the waste attracting the highest rate.
A person who conducts a recycling activity may apply for a 50% discount to be charged on recycling waste.
However, an application will only be successful if the person meets the ‘recycling efficiency threshold’. For example, a paper and cardboard recycling operation must recover 65% of the materials to be eligible for the discount.
A person may still be eligible for the discount if it is not reasonably practicable for them to meet the threshold and they introduce efficiency measures to improve their recovery rate.
The following categories of waste will be automatically exempt from the levy:
Some waste may be granted an exemption, including:
The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.