Queensland opens $100M funding program for waste and recycling

A new $100 million program has been opened in Queensland that aims to improve the state’s recycling, resource recovery and biofutures industries.

The Resource Recovery Industry Development Program is designed to encourage removing waste from landfill, with the Queensland Government calling for interested parties to come forward with project proposals.

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Three streams are offered to capture projects across a variety of scales and levels of support.

Stream one is a rounds-based capital grants scheme with dollar-for dollar grants available up to $5 million to provide funding for infrastructure projects in new processing and technological capabilities.

The second stream is a broad incentives stream to attract or expand major resource recovery operations to divert waste from landfill.

A third stream will involve funding towards capital-intensive, long lifecycle projects which require support for investigations for final investment decisions.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the funding was made available over three years to develop a high value resource recovery and recycling industry.

“Our aim is to make Queensland a world leader in projects involving resource recovery, recycling and the re-manufacturing of materials to turn waste to energy,” Mr Dick said.

“Economically, we know such projects have the potential to generate new jobs for our communities and build confidence for business to invest in Queensland, and we know encouraging investment and innovation in the waste industry will also deliver long-term benefits environmentally.

“This program is another demonstration of the State Government supporting investment in Queensland through reducing waste going to landfill, and another leap forward in our journey towards a zero-waste future.”

Mr Dick said the projects will also create new products from waste, growing industry and reducing the impact on the environment.

“This funding will be available to support local governments and existing businesses and will attract new major projects to Queensland,” he said.

“Applications are also welcome from consortia: businesses or local governments working together on plans to deliver integrated projects.”

Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said this program was part of the Queensland Government’s long-term vision to attract investment, develop new industries and grow jobs.

“We have a real opportunity to improve waste management practices in Queensland,” she said.

“Research indicates that for every 10,000 tonnes of waste that goes to landfill, less than three jobs are supported. But if that same waste was recycled, more than nine jobs would be supported.

“That is why our Government is moving towards a comprehensive waste management strategy, underpinned by a waste disposal levy. Last week we introduced legislation into Queensland Parliament and we are now one step closer to stopping interstate waste being dumped here in our state and encouraging more investment in industry,” Ms Enoch said.

Waste Recycling Industry Queensland CEO Rick Ralph said the funding announcement is critical to investment decisions proceeding.

“It now provides Queensland industry the opportunity to develop and create new jobs by driving economic growth that in turn will reshape the state as Australia’s leading secondary resources and recycling capital.”

Expressions of interest for stream one will remain open until 5 October, with funding through streams two and three available through application. The Queensland Government aims to have the first projects funded within the first half of 2019.

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Queensland waste levy introduced into parliament

Queensland’s waste levy is one step closer as the legislation has been introduced into parliament.

It aims to stop trucks from New South Wales dumping waste in Queensland and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill while also encouraging more recycling jobs.

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A levy existed in Queensland until 2012, when it was removed, making it the only mainland state without a levy.

The new levy will begin on 4 March 2019 at a rate of $70 per tonne for general waste.

In the 2018-2019 state budget, the Queensland Government committed $32 million in advance payments to councils to ensure residents would not have to pay more for their waste.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Waste Levy) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 will allow the government to invest in waste management and recycling.

“We are providing advance payments to councils that covers 105% of the cost of their municipal waste,” Ms Enoch said.

“This means councils are being paid more than the cost of what they actually send to landfill every year.

“Councils will have no reason to increase rates because of the waste levy – we are giving them more than enough funding to cover this. In fact, councils could choose to use the extra funds to increase their waste management services,” she said.

Ms Enoch said that for every 10,000 tonnes of waste that go to landfill, less than three jobs are supported, compared with nine if that amount was recycled.

Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA) Chief Executive Officer Gayle Sloan said that WMAA sees this as a great opportunity to grow and develop the resource recovery sector in Queensland, creating jobs and investment in the state.

“This will bring Queensland back in line with the majority of Australian states, and it is a step towards creating a level playing field across the country that industry so desperately needs,” Ms Sloan said.

Waste Recycling Industry Queensland Chief Executive Officer Rick Ralph said  industry and all levels of government have a critical role in delivering the objectives of Queensland’s new waste strategy.

“We are committed to realising council and the State Government’s future direction on waste, and to reshape Queensland to become Australia’s leading secondary resources and recycling state,” Mr Ralph said.

The Bundaberg Protocol: Queensland’s response to recycling

Queensland industry stakeholders have released a five-point action plan in response to the impact of the global recycling challenge on the state, including greater risk sharing provisions for council contracts and more recycled content in public policy and purchasing.

The Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland (WRIQ) hosted the Queensland Secondary Resources Forum in late April, in Bundaberg, to address issues impacting kerbside recycling and international challenges.

The forum aimed to discuss the Chinese Government’s decision to restrict the amount of waste being imported and how it effects Queensland domestic recycling capabilities.

All actions must be reported against in October 2018.

The five point plan includes education and awareness, collection, procurement, contracting and regulation. It places the onus of responsibility on the various stakeholders involved in reform to take action.

Education and awareness aims to be established through improved standardised community education to inform approved items for kerbside recycling bins. A Working Group will be convened by 30 May, 2018 to develop an education program project scope for councils. This will be facilitated by local government representatives, state government, the Product Stewardship Council, WRIQ and the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation.

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The plan also includes a focus on collection, with a plan to trial two local government kerbside collection systems and monitor the reduction of contaminants. Bundaberg Regional Council will trial the removal of flexible plastics and all non-bottle plastics from its kerbside bins. Ipswich City Council will trial the removal of all glass items from its kerbside bins. Project plans for each will be established in May, 2018.

In terms of procurement, the manifesto recommends the Queensland Government’s procurement policy be amended to mandate the use of recycled content in public policy and purchasing, with a preferred weighting to Queensland generated recycled product. Products to be promoted include recycled glass for reuse in infrastructure, plastic for feedstock in manufactured public infrastructure, paper and cardboard for reuse and organics for street scapes, landscapes and other composting activities. This will be facilitated by WRIQ working with the state government.

Contracting in the plan comprises separating recyclables processing and recyclables collection contracts, the inclusion of risk sharing provisions with commodity prices and contamination between councils and contractors, and some other measures. This will be facilitated by the state government’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) with support from WRIQ and the Local Government Association of Queensland. The action plan requests DES to assist by convening a local government and industry working group to scope and redesign a new contract framework (and model contract) for kerbside recyclables collection and processing in Queensland.

Regulation focuses on using existing provisions in the Waste Recycling Reduction Act – Chapter 4 Management of Priority and other products provisions. The manifesto argues the Queensland Government should prepare notices of intent for the introduction of priority product statements on materials which include non-CRS glass item, non-bottle plastics and textiles. Australian standards be amended to allow for/encourage recycled content to be used in product manufacture. The action plan requests DES to issue a directive to the relevant industry organisations for glass, plastics and textile manufacturers placing product in Queensland. It asks them to call for the introduction of voluntary stewardship programs for their products and seek their future commitments by October, 2018.

The news followed with recent commitments by state and territory environment ministers regarding recycled packaging.