Getting the best outcome for Australian communities from waste and landfill levies

Getting the best outcome for Australian communities from waste and landfill levies

Peak bodies representing Australia’s multibillion dollar waste and resource recovery industry have begun a national review of landfill levy collection and distribution. The WRIQ’s aim is to get the best outcomes from the levy for Australian communities.

By the end of this year, every Australian state will have a landfill levy in place. Collectively, levies generate close to one and a half billion ($1.42 billion in 2019-2020) in revenue annually. However, feedback from industry, local government and other stakeholders consistently report confusion, inconsistency, and a lack of transparency related to state government levy collection and distribution.

WRIQ Mark Smith said a survey tool will help to inform the sector of necessary projects.

“This project isn’t about criticising government policy and programs. At its core, it is about engaging with stakeholders about the potential levies could have to drive the outcomes we all want. Reduced environmental and community impacts and driving economic returns for Australia,” he said.

“We aren’t advocating for or against landfill levies. We are engaging with stakeholders about their experiences applying for government grants and identifying how this process could be improved.”

Waste or landfill levies are a key regulatory tool used to improve recycling and reduce environmental liabilities from waste generation. They have a significant effect on:

–  Commercial environment of nearly every waste and recycling business

–  When utilised correctly, the behaviour of waste generators including the community.


Levies also generate significant funds for each jurisdiction. Therefore, carefully considered levy regulations and their distribution through grants or other mechanisms are essential to advancing Australia to a more circular economy and contributing to business confidence which in turn attracts private investment.

The Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland (WRIQ) in partnership with our state affiliates and our national body have begun a National Review of Grants funded by waste and landfill levies.

This project continues work initiated by the National Waste Recycling Industry Council’s White Paper, Review of Waste Levies in Australia, which identified that only about 25% of levies are returned to the sector (including funding of broader environmental initiatives).



This project is being delivered across two streams:

➢ Levy collection and grant distribution
– A review of state government budget papers and related announcements for our

sector have identified levy collection and expenditure through grants. This will enable a national snapshot of what is currently being collected via levies (revenue) versus funded via grant programs (expenditure). This process will also highlight what is currently not funded or underfunded.

➢ User experience and feedback from the sector
– Using a survey tool and focus groups, WRIQ are seeking feedback from participants nationally on their experience applying for government grants related to waste, recycling, litter and related themes. They want to know if the grants are timely, engagement with you is appropriate, the grants are fit for purpose and also collect stakeholders’ ideas on what could be done to improve the process.

NWRIC CEO Rose Read said that the survey would greatly benefit from stakeholder contributions.

“Levies are an effective tool in driving greater resource recovery by creating markets, infrastructure and education programs, together with funding the necessary regulatory framework,” Read said.

“It’s important we check in regularly with all stakeholders to ensure these levies are being spent the best way they can.  I encourage all waste and recycling operators, local councils, and businesses to complete the survey and help us ensure our levy monies are being spent wisely.”

The WRIQ’s intent is to provide recommendations to State and Federal Government about how grants for the waste sector could be improved. This project will also identify other mechanisms to support the sector in reducing waste to landfill. In doing so, improving environmental, social, and economic outcomes for Australia.

WRIQ (on behalf of state affiliates and national body) invite anyone who has expressed interest in state government grant programs for waste and recycling (and related areas) to email to register your interest and receive your copy of the survey link and fact sheet about this project. You do not need to be a member of WRIQ or state affiliates to participate in this study.