Queensland Government opens interstate waste submissions

An independent investigation into the cross-border transport of waste to Queensland landfills is open for public submissions.

Retired Supreme Court Judge, The Honourable Peter Lyons QC will lead the investigation following a roundtable last month chaired by the Premier and Environment Minister Steven Miles.

Mr Miles said the three-month investigation would help ensure Queenslanders can have confidence in the waste transport industry.

“I encourage all transport, waste and recycling facility operators in New South Wales and South East Queensland to provide written submissions to this investigation,” Mr Miles said.

“The investigation will look at the incentives for movement of waste from other states, and how to prevent this from happening.

“It will also consider whether there’s a need for regulatory reform – and examine the role of other states and the Commonwealth.

“While this is not a regulatory or criminal investigation, it is expected that any unlawful activity it uncovers will be referred to the appropriate Queensland or interstate authorities.”

An interim report will be provided to the Government by 18 October 2017, with a final report due by 17 November 2017.

The closing date for submissions is 26 September 2017.

Details on how to make a submission are available from the investigation’s website at: www.qldwasteinvestigation.com.au

Plastic bag and CDS passes Qld parliament

Queensland’s container refund scheme and ban on plastic bags has successfully passed the parliament and will commence in 2018.

Environment Minister Steven Miles said the Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017 would stop the scourge of plastic shopping bags and put a price on beverage containers so they get recycled.

“Many of the most passionate advocates for these reforms are Queensland school children. I get letters every day from school kids around the state.”

Mr Miles said the bill passed through Parliament with bipartisan support.

“This reflects the overwhelming community support for both the refund scheme and the plastic bag ban which will both come into effect on July 1 2018.”

The container refund scheme will see most drink containers between 150ml and 3 litres eligible for a 10 cent refund (although some containers are exempt, such as containers for plain milk, wine and pure juice).

Refunds will be available when empty eligible containers are returned to designated container refund points across the state. Reverse vending machines are likely to play a significant role in people’s ability to access the refund.

CEO of Waste Recycling Industry Association (Qld) Inc, Rick Ralph, said the association strongly supported the introduction of the scheme.

Similar container refund schemes have been operating in South Australia and the Northern Territory for many years, with New South Wales to bring in a refund scheme in December this year.

Similarly, bans on lightweight single-use plastic shopping bags are already in place in other parts of the country including South Australia, the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.

Mr Miles said he applauded the initiative of retailers who were proactively banning the supply of lightweight plastic shopping bags in advance of the ban commencing on 1 July 2018.

Mr Miles said the state government would continue to work closely with beverage manufacturers, retailers, local government, the waste and resource recovery industry, and the community on both proposals to ensure a smooth transition and operation of the container refund scheme and plastic bag ban.

More information on these initiatives is available at www.ehp.qld.gov.au/waste.