Industry responds to QLD Energy from Waste policy

The Queensland Government has released its highly anticipated Energy from Waste (EfW) policy following a webinar with the state’s Environment Minister, Leeanne Enoch.

Enoch hosted a ‘lunch with the Queensland Environment Minister’ via zoom last week due to social distancing restrictions, to announce the EfW policy and how it will play a key role within the waste and resource recovery system across the state.

The EfW policy aims to capture embodied energy from residual materials that would otherwise have been landfilled, as Queensland transitions towards a circular economy.

Enoch gave a candid update of the current state of play in Queensland, noted that the policy aligns with both the waste management hierarchy as well as Queensland’s strategic priorities, and provides industry with certainty on how EfW will be regulated and assessed in the state.

As well as establishing an EfW hierarchy to address the differing technologies available, the policy outlines seven outcomes to guide proponents on how environmental authority applications for EfW facilities will be assessed and regulated, detailing requirements that will need to be met to demonstrate operational performance of proposed facilities.

Gayle Sloan, Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association Australia (WMRR) CEO, said QLD’s EfW policy is a “very sensible and well considered document”.

She said EfW draws on international best practice, resisting the temptation that WMRR have seen in other Australian jurisdictions to create poorly thought out interventions that impact confidence and investment.

“The release of the document is a positive step towards offering EfW proponents some much-needed certainty, offering clear pathways to EfW, and importantly, a clear expectation about community engagement and social license,” Sloan said.

“All these steps are pivotal in rebuilding the economy and creating local jobs in the post-COVID world that we are building.”

Mark Smith, Waste Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ) CEO, agrees that the EfW policy provides an important building block for the Queensland waste and resource recovery sector and importantly sets out expectations from government to market.

However, Smith said a key challenge for state and local government and the private sector, who are the largest funders of infrastructure in Queensland and Australia, will be how the changes and improvements to waste and recycling management is communicated to the Queensland community.

“Recent research from CSIRO tells us that in order for community to trust and accept upgrades to waste facilities or new facilities being establish, is their confidence in the industry and their confidence in the government bodies regulating the sector,” he said.

“WRIQ is committed to improving the sector’s public brand and wants to ensure our members are supported by government when they decide to make investments to support the Queensland economy.”

Smith said it’s really important that government understand and recognise their role in building community awareness around the “role our sector plays in maintaining the economy and maintaining our way of life”.

WRIQ has congratulated the Queensland Government for releasing the policy and the commitment to releasing further guidance at the end of the year.

Sloan said that WMRR also appreciates the Queensland Department of Environment and Science’s (DES) strong engagement with the industry in the establishment of this policy.

“We look forward to the development of further detail on how industry can meet EfW requirements in Queensland, utilising what we know is international best practice, including the EU Waste Directives,” she said.

Smith said WRIQ will reach out to DES to also support the development process of the policy.

According to WMRR, during the webinar, Enoch also reassured attendees that resource recovery is at the forefront of many of the government’s decisions, acknowledging that the essential waste and resource recovery sector is a vital stakeholder and contributor to Queensland’s post-COVID economic recovery, particularly as the industry will be able to provide home grown manufacturing opportunities.

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Industry responds to QLD waste levy deferment

The Queensland Government has announced a six-month deferment to the waste levy increase that was set to begin on July 1 2020.

The levy has been deferred for six months due to the impact of COVID-19 on businesses operating within the waste sector in QLD.

The announcement has been welcomed by the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR), whilst Waste Recycling Industry Association Queensland (WRIQ) stated in a members notice that the timing of the landfill level deferral is disappointing.

The six-month deferment will see the waste levy remain at $75 per tonne for general waste, and $105 and $125 per tonne for regulated wastes until 31 December 2020.

QLD joins the ranks of NSW and Victoria, being the first state movers in providing some form of levy relief, the former by way of deferring waste levy payments for the foreseeable future and the latter deferring its 1 July 2020 levy increase to 1 January 2021. WA’s waste levy has also been frozen for the 2020-21 year.

The move has been praised by the WMRR and CEO Gayle Sloan has credited the QLD government “proactivity in deferring the levy increase and the Department of Environment and Science is to be commended for listening to, and considering, the very real concerns of the industry”.

“As industry continues to face financial and operational challenges related to the pandemic, WMRR is encouraged to see jurisdictions taking a commonsense approach towards costs and regulatory pressures placed on our essential industry,” Sloan said.

“In deferring the levy increase, operators and their customers may have some financial respite while continuing to focus on the job at hand, which is keeping our services operating while ensuring the safety of our staff and community.”

Sloan stated that the WMRR has recommended that only the first proposed levy increment in 2020 be deferred to provide relief to operators and their customers facing financial challenges and all later increments should continue as planned in order to safeguard ongoing investments that will build the  industry.

WRIQ CEO, Mark Smith, received advice from DES on the Government’s decision to defer proposed landfill levy price increases last Friday evening on May 29, and believes the decision will impact QLD businesses and clients differently within the industry.

“This 11th hour notification is disappointing, as it provides our members and industry with minimal time to adapt and notify their supply chain of pricing impacts,” Smith said.

In response, WRIQ is collating general legal advice with WRIQ partner, Minter Ellison, to form advice and resources for its members, set to be available on Thursday June 4.

“The market works best when there is market certainty. Changing market conditions 4 weeks out from proposed increases will impact businesses differently. However in the age of Covid I recognise government need to make decisions that are best suited for the whole of Queensland,” Smith said.

He added that Post Covid, WRIQ would like to sit down with Government to determine a minimum timeframe in the event of future pricing changes.

“I respect that changes to landfill levies need to run a particular process but businesses also need to run to notify their clients and customers of the pricing changing. It would be great to bring both these processes into alignment,” he said.

The WMRR is also encouraging all future engagements with state governments.

“It is WMRR’s hope that SA will not continue to turn a blind eye to industry’s concerns and will follow in its neighbours’ footsteps by offering levy relief to operators,” Sloan said.

Last year the SA government implemented a 40 per cent levy increase, which Sloan stated was a shock announcement “with no industry consultation whatsoever and continues to place significant strain on existing projects and operations”.

“Now is the time to ease these financial pressures on operators so that we can maintain a viable industry and importantly, assist in the rebuilding of a post-COVID economy,” she said.

According to advice from DES to landfill operators, business systems and processes need to be reviewed to ensure the QLD deferral is incorporated.

“Your current levy obligations remain, including waste measurement and recording, monthly data returns and monthly invoice payments, so continue these as-normal,” the DES advised to landfill operators.

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Industry responds to COVID-19 support packages

Waste Management Review will be running a four-part series throughout April on conquering waste industry challenges amid COVID-19 and possible future opportunities. In this first part, we highlight a summary of support packages available to the sector across each jurisdiction and what industry groups are hoping to see going forward.

Read moreIndustry responds to COVID-19 support packages

Historic Cairns Wharf timber to be recycled

Historic rare timber from the world heritage-listed Wet Tropics of Queensland could find a new home, with recycled timber specialists Kennedy’s Timber removing hundreds of metres of piles as part of the $20 million upgrade of the Cairns wharves 1-6.

Built in 1942 during World War II, the Cairns Wharf was covered in 200 millimetres of thick concrete, which has ensured elements of the timber remained in good condition for its age.

Kennedy’s Timber has been contracted by Astral Construction to complete the removal of 2000 lineal metres of Crows Ash, 1500 lineal metres of Cairns Hickory and 150 turpentine piles – which will be put on sale for a special project.

Kennedy’s Timber founder Michael Kennedy said it is an honour to be part of such a significant project and to be asked to find a home for this piece of history.

“In 26 years of timber recycling, I have never seen such outstanding timber with a rich history – both Crows Ash and Hickory are very rare timbers and highly sought-after. Years ago, the timber was milled in the rainforest of the Wet Tropics of Queensland which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and logging is no longer permitted,” Mr Kennedy said. 

“To be able to give this timber to a new home is such a unique opportunity and we’re certain there will be plenty of individuals excited about the prospect of using this timber on their projects. The timber is very desirable for furniture makers due to its golden colour, durability and rich patina. Recycled timber also stores carbon so it’s always a great environmentally-friendly option.”

The state government is spending $20 million dollars to upgrade the Cairns wharves from 1-6 as part of the $127 million Cairns Shipping Development Project – which is designed to attract large cruise ships and boost tourism. 

A new concrete jetty has been built to replace the old structure at wharf 6, with 15 per cent retained for heritage purposes.

The timber removal process will take an estimated three weeks to complete.

“We want the Cairns Wharf recycled timber to go towards special projects and we have a few in mind – I would love to hear from local builders, architects and designers who have an exceptional home for this piece of history,” Mr Kennedy said.

Kennedy’s Timber is a specialist in recycled timber within the commercial and residential building industry and provide the full spectrum of timber design options.

Their recycled timber has been used in projects like Suncorp Stadium, Tree of Knowledge in Barcaldine, Parliament House Canberra, Hilton hotel and many resorts.

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QLD awards industry development grants

Two businesses in Queensland’s timber forestry region will share in more than $600,000 of state government funding to investigate projects that will transform waste into products.

Laminex Australia will receive $559,000 via the state’s Resource Recovery Industry Development Program (RRIDP) to conduct a feasibility study into an energy cogeneration plant at its fibreboard manufacturing facility.

According to State Development and Manufacturing Minister Cameron Dick, the business currently produces 310,000 metric metres of fibreboard (MDF) and laminates approximately seven million square metres of MDF and particleboard each year.

“Laminex is already a major employer in the region, and we’re committed to helping them create more jobs for locals,” Mr Dick said.

“The proposed plant would support the electricity and thermal energy requirements for Laminex’s entire Gympie fibreboard manufacturing facility.”

Mr Dick said Laminex will draw from a wide selection of waste resources as feedstock for the cogeneration plant, including demolition wood waste and green waste.

“Once operational, the cogeneration plant would divert up to 100,000 tonnes of waste from landfill annually,” he said.

Laminex Group Executive General Manager Justin Burgess said the company, which last year expanded its manufacturing operations in Gympie, wanted to continue backing the regional community and reduce its carbon footprint.

“To do this, we need to ensure our flagship plant continues to be at the forefront when it comes to using innovative energy-efficient equipment,” Mr Burgess said.

“Supported by this grant funding, we expect to use up to 100,000 tonnes of biomass otherwise destined for landfill to generate electricity and thermal energy for production processes, achieving the highest possible energy efficiency.”

Addtionally, Queensland’s largest forestry plantation company HQPlantations (HQP) has been awarded $50,000 through the $5 million Waste to Biofutures Fund, to help test the use of forest-floor materials as feedstock for a biomass plant.

Mr Dick said HQP is the largest forest plantation owner in the state, with around 200,000 hectares of timber forests, more than half of which comprise the Fraser Coast pine plantations extending from east of Gympie to near Bundaberg.

Mr Dick said over 1.25 million tonnes of timber is harvested annually from the area, so being able to turn the waste from this work into energy would deliver strong economic and employment outcomes for the region.

“Queensland’s southern pine plantations support an estimated 1670 primary production and processing jobs, and for every job created by the forest and timber industry, another job is indirectly created in the broader economy,” he said.

“If we can help unlock new revenue streams for our plantations and associated timber businesses, local communities that rely on our forestry industry will reap the benefits of the seeds being sowed.”

HQP Science Manager Ian Last said treating treetops and other offcuts as a resource rather than waste is a research priority for the company.

“The Queensland Government’s funding will support field trials, including further sampling to better define residues, as well as trialling residue recovery equipment such as mobile in-field chippers and grinders,” Mr Last said.

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Build it and they will come: Rick Ralph

Waste Management Review catches up with outgoing Waste and Recycling Industry QLD CEO Rick Ralph, talking international waste bans, Queensland policy setting and his career journey.

In 1981, a 20-something Rick Ralph was selling toilet paper and towels in Melbourne.

He’d introduced hospitals to a range of one-way clinical products and disposal paper products, but little did he know his life would be about to change.

Four years prior, he had dropped out of university and followed the sabbatical adolescent rite of passage to travel the globe.

“I probably didn’t apply myself as much as I should have. It’s ironic that I’ve just been installed in the School Hall of Fame for my achievements in the community and environment now 40 years later – quite incredible,” he recalls.

A call out of the blue from one of Rick’s mentors at Comalco Aluminium led him to head up the Cash for Cans Initiative in Victoria  – a world-first container refund scheme.

“Someone had heard about someone, who knew someone, who knew someone, and I got a phone call. I thought this was interesting and in January 1981, started my career in recycling and waste management,” he says.

Comalco promoted aluminium can recycling to the general public by inspiring children and community groups to collect their cans. It saw the establishment of buy-back centres where users could return their cans for a cash return. Much like modern container refund schemes, they raised significant funds for community and charity projects across Australia.

The occasion calls for reflection as Waste Management Review Editor Toli Papadopoulos caught up with Rick, the Chief Executive Officer of Waste Recycling Industry Association (QLD). As Rick recently announced his retirement, I spoke with him over lunch to discuss his 39-year career in waste and recycling.

CASH FOR CANS

Comalco Aluminium’s Cash for Cans initiative would later inspire similar schemes in Western Australia and internationally, and led to a ban on glass sales at Australian Rules Football grounds in Victoria.

“The introduction of the aluminium can and Comalco’s program was the complete reset of the environmental recycling movement in Australia,” Rick says.

“It changed recycling from putting out your 55-litre bin and a few bottles and paper for the garbo to collect to a wholesale reform where it introduced and supported community-based litter programs. It shifted the way glass recycling occurred and shifted the light weighting of glass bottles.”

He adds that it removed steel cans from beverage one-way use and reduced litter of cans from the waste stream. It also triggered the paper industry to change its recycling model.

“We paid out millions each year. At one stage we had 33 per cent of Australia’s primary and secondary school system actively engaged, we had employees developing school’s programs and it was the founding of community events such as the can raft regattas that still go on today.

“What many in government and the community don’t realise is that the aluminium can had the highest recycling rate in the world. At its peak, it performed well over 65 per cent recovery and stabilised somewhere near 60 to 62 percent regularly.”

As the program matured and kerbside commenced in the late 90s, focus shifted, and the program was disbanded.

In the years since, Rick helped introduce beach litter programs with the late Dame Phyllis Frost from Keep Australia Beautiful, while also later working in WA and South Africa.

But in the early 90s, he went back to the Sunshine State as Director of Waste Services at the City of Brisbane, a role which he held for three years.

“I left that because it was either politicians winning or Rick, and Rick was never going to win,” he jokes.

“I then bought a recycling business and we were one of the first materials recovery facilities (MRFs) in Brisbane and the state’s largest glass recycler.”

He stayed in this role for around five years.

Rick then went on to work at an Australian-first pyrolysis municipal solid waste plant as General Manager Recycling and Resource Recovery in Wollongong in NSW.

“It was a genuine attempt at waste-to-energy at the turn of the century and a time when a lot of the alternative waste treatments got going in NSW. We were competing in a very noisy and developing waste space,” Rick says.

THE BUSINESS VOICE

In 2006, an opportunity arose to start an industry association which would become what Rick says provided a business voice for waste and recycling. Working with Tony Khoury, who heads up the Waste Contractors Recyclers Association (WCRA) NSW, one of the oldest waste industry associations in the world, Rick helped established WCRA QLD. Formed in 2007, the association would later be rebranded to Waste Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ) in 2012.

On his achievements with WRIQ, he cites supporting the development of environmentally relevant activities such as the Department of Environment and Science (DES) version of EPA guidelines for waste-related activities and our future leaders’ program.

Additionally, replicating the governance model of WRIQ in the Northern Territory and supporting state-based associations in WA and SA was another highlight. Not least, his work setting up the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council in partnership with former CEO Max Spedding.

In respect to the repeal of the levy by the Campbell Newman Government, Rick says there are those that accused WRIQ of advocating for its repeal – a complete falsehood.

“We advocated to get it right because the framework was wrong. The current levy is still wrong as we have this disconnect where only half the state has got it and only that half is paying for the levy.”

Reflecting on the lessons learnt from Cash for Cans, Rick says the Queensland Government’s container refund scheme (CRS) changed forever the operating parameters of existing recycling systems.

Rick says that disruption was inevitable but he doesn’t think we have truly yet analysed where that will stabilise. He says that coupled with changes in commodity values, international quality specifications and product market access, 12 months along only now are we seeing the real impacts to kerbside systems.

“From the social equity view it’s been hugely successful as it provided many communities in Queensland previously without access to recycling an opportunity to participate – a great result,” he says.

“However, it’s time we step back, analyse these changes and leverage those outcomes. We must refocus our attention and ensure kerbside and many other commercial systems are just as sustainable. Existing kerbside models are outdated. They need revitalising and readjustment for them to survive this new community norm.”

CHALLENGES AHEAD

Rick says right now one of the great challenges facing Queensland is a disconnect between government policy and industry, describing the regulatory framework as a failure.

“Be it developing and improving existing assets of brownfield sites or even greenfield developments, Queensland currently is a ‘basket case’ in terms of its planning arrangements and the approvals framework and government is totally responsible for that confused and complex environment.”

Industry was blind-sided when the Queensland Government exercised its legislative powers, introducing new requirements for buffer zones on all new or expanded facilities in the Swanbank and New Chum industrial area.

A Temporary Legislative Planning Instrument (TLPI) was used to suspend part of their planning scheme and took effect for two years from 6 April 2018. The TLPI introduced a 750-metre buffer from existing, approved or planned residential areas for new and expanded waste facilities, including in landfill.

“If you look historically in planning terms, WRIQ agreed in 2013 with the government of the day introducing planning instruments that gave protection to all our existing assets and gave sensitive receptors and community protection as well.

“With the re-election of this current government, it again changed the planning framework, the third government in six years to do so, by slapping a TLPI on us in the most sensitive and secure landfill region for southeast Queensland without any industry consultation.”

Rick’s frustration with the slow process of reform saw him commission an independent survey of 67 WRIQ members in 2018 into the performance of the DES.

The feedback called for a complete overhaul of the DES and the instalment of an EPA to regulate the industry. He maintains that position is more apt today than ever.

I ask if there’s been any progress on the matter since then, he laughs and says Queensland is on Fijian time.

“As a local Fijian once said to me, ‘no worry, no hurry here’,” he says.

“From an industry perspective I think government has heard us. But there is this continuing reluctance to genuinely understand and change things. However we’re going to maintain the pressure. We must.

“I think there’s an opportunity to have a look at what Victoria has done. It may not be perfect, but I think from time to time we need to actually take a step back.”

“I hope my successor goes harder than I ever did on getting our reforms through with the regulator.”

And despite Queensland introducing a $70-per-tonne waste levy in July 2018 on waste to landfill, with council and state elections coming up in 2020, Rick says we are heading for a 10-month period of political paralysis.

“When you add the slowed local economy and lack of industry development, it’s very difficult to actually identify if the levy has worked or not.

“Yes it’s caused a rethink, but what’s disappointing is that industry wants to invest, industry wants to go forward, industry wants to create jobs, but we can’t build a thing.

“You’ve got a culture in Queensland where you can set up, start operating, build it and get retrospective approval. This is the greatest threat to our economic development.”

He says the role of the Federal Government should now be to focus on improving regulatory planning processes to ensure states can support and deliver the national targets.

While his achievements over the past two decades are distinct, he says WRIQ has been grateful just to have a seat at the table.

“You’re never going to influence policy, but you must be at the table to talk.

“You can, however, influence regulations because regulations are where it is for any business owner.”

On the issue of the international waste ban, Rick says we need to get serious and stop referring to it as a ban on “waste”.

He points out that we don’t export waste, but rather recyclate. As waste management in Australia has traditionally focused on collection with a lack of substantive local end markets, he questions why we are banning material if there is a sensible end destination for value-added material.

The National Waste Report finds around 5.6 million tonnes of paper and cardboard was generated in 2016-17, with 60 per cent of this recycled and 40 per cent sent to landfill.

A mere 12 per cent of the 2.5 million tonnes of plastics was recycled that same year. Given the high generation figures, Rick ask if the focus is on international environmental and human health harm, then there are far more urgent materials for the attention of COAG, such as baled up scrap metal that is going out under the radar.

“For goodness sake, industry can’t even update an existing brownfield site. How the hell are we going to find remanufacturing for 1.2 million tonnes of paper and products, and more than 250,000 tonnes of plastics in just a couple of years?”

He adds rushed policy is bad policy, and advocates for a full regulatory impact study that quantifies the economic, social and business impacts of these bans before they happen.

“It’s great we’re talking about remanufacturing, but in the current environment of the interference by government at all levels and our elected representatives, it’s going to be difficult. Realistically, if we don’t have a home for it, materials will go straight to landfill with the only benefits going to government from waste levies.

“That’s the reality and that’s not acceptable.”

As for whether he has any regrets.  Rick sips his drink and responds without hesitation: ‘nothing’.

He says you need to make the mistakes of past to know what you’ve done wrong, so you don’t make them again.

“It’s been fun, but it hasn’t ended. This is a personal reset of my own priorities and handing things over to a new generation of leaders.”

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QLD proposes local government waste reform

The Queensland Government is reviewing waste regulations after a Queensland Treasury Corporation review highlighted anti-competition concerns and a lack of regulatory harmonisation.

The state government’s Local Government Waste Management Reforms Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) is now open for public comment.

“Local government stakeholders have raised concerns about their ability to administer waste management in the absence of a state level regulatory framework for the administration of waste management, and the need for all councils to develop local laws for waste administration,” the RIS reads.

“Some stakeholders expressed the view that some local governments are acting in an anticompetitive manner while implementing local government waste management provisions.”

The RIS examines two regulatory mechanisms, section seven of the Waste Reduction and Recycling Regulation 2011, and chapter 5A of the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.

According to the RIS, both sections provide a regulatory framework for local governments to administer waste management activities within a local government area.

Section seven allows local governments to designate areas for general and green waste collection, and to determine the frequency of those collections. Chapter 5A gives local governments the ability to impose obligations and requirements on premises outside designated areas.

The RIS suggests that when paired with powers granted under the Local Government Act 2009, section seven and chapter 5A give local governments the ability to stifle competition.

“The Local Government Act 2009 provides for local governments to make local laws, including anti-competitive laws, where the benefit to the community is considered to outweigh the cost,” the RIS reads.

Alternatively, the RIS highlights local government concerns that without these powers, commercial operators will only collect from profitable segments of the market, thereby undermining the economies of scale that come from mandating all services.

The RIS proposes two options: no change to current regulations, and amendments that will retain local government’s ability to mandate domestic waste collection, but only allow local governments to designate areas for council commercial waste collection when strict criteria are met.

The Local Government Association Queensland is supporting the retention of present regulations, suggesting changes will lead to a clear cost shift to local communities for the sole benefit of the private sector.

Additionally, the association suggests changes could reduce service certainty, reduce the ability to control and regulate collection activities and impact contract arrangements and negotiations.

Submissions close 31 February.

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$70 million QLD grants open

The Queensland Government’s $365 million Building our Region’s program has opened applications for its next round of funding.

The program is open to waste infrastructure projects that provide direct economic benefit to industrial or commercial development.

A Cairns material recovery facility (MRF) doubled its processing capacity after receiving $3 million from an earlier funding round in April this year.

In reference to the MRF, State Development Minister Cameron Dick said raising the quality of recycling in Queensland would facilitate better access to relevant global export markets.

“Regional infrastructure development means more Queensland jobs, and more jobs means a stronger Queensland,” Mr. Dick said.

“That’s why our government committed another $70 million towards Building our Region’s in the 2019-20 state budget.”

Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) President and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed the funding.

“The LGAQ has seen firsthand the economic injection and jobs for regions this program provides,” Mr. Jamieson said.

“By working with councils to identify projects that will deliver local growth, support local businesses and create more liveable communities, the state government is supporting investment and opportunities across Queensland’s regions, which is welcomed by councils.”

In addition to waste infrastructure, applications are open to wastewater, renewable energy, marine and transport projects.

Regional councils have until 30 August to submit expressions of interest for shovel-ready projects.

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QLD releases energy from waste policy

The public is being invited to comment on the Queensland Government’s Energy-from-Waste policy discussion paper, released earlier this week.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said finding alternative uses for waste was becoming more important than ever.

“The discussion paper is giving Queenslanders a chance to contribute to the development of a new policy, provide feedback on the types of technologies and help us plan for the future,” Ms Enoch said.

“The paper is an important action under the government’s new waste strategy.”

Ms Enoch said the government’s waste strategy outlined priorities and actions to help grow the recycling and resource recovery sector.

“We have set ambitious targets to recover 90 per cent of the waste we generate by 2050 and recycle at least 75 per cent of that waste,” Ms Enoch said.

“But we acknowledge that some wastes cannot be recycled, and it is better to retain the value of these wastes by recovering energy than it is to dispose of them to landfill. This is all part of our broader transition to a circular economy.”

Waste Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ) Executive Officer Rick Ralph said WRIQ and its members welcomed the new waste strategy.

“Energy from waste will play an important role in helping to achieve the objectives and targets of the strategy,” Mr Ralph said.

“The release of the Energy-from-Waste discussion paper is a step in the right direction. Industry looks forward to having this discussion with the government in this important initiative.”

Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) CEO Gayle Sloan said energy from waste was a vital part of a sustainable waste and resource recovery system.

“Its technologies are also proven globally, with more than 2000 energy from waste facilities operating safely across the US, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, many having operated for decades,” Ms Sloan said.

“We look forward to working with the Queensland Government to leverage the technical expertise of our industry to develop a policy that promotes investment in, and growth of, an integrated waste management and resource recovery system that includes energy from waste.”

Public consultation is open until 26 August.

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QLD levy comes into effect

The Queensland Government’s waste levy has come into effect, bringing Queensland in line with the majority of Australian states and territories.

Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said prior to the levy’s reintroduction Queensland was the only mainland state without a waste levy.

The levy will apply to most commercial and industrial waste going to landfill – starting at $75 per tonne.

The levy zone includes 39 out of 77 local government areas, which covers an estimated 90 per cent of Queensland’s population.

Ms Enoch said the government had employed extra compliance officers to ensure businesses were following new waste management legislation.

“The Department of Environment and Science will have 16 extra staff on the ground with more to come, which will help to prevent illegal dumping across the state,” Ms Enoch said.

Waste Management & Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) CEO Gayle Sloan said WMRR appreciated the state governments collaboration with industry throughout the levy development and implementation process.

“Queensland may have to play catch up on a number of waste management and resource recovery fronts, but the process the state government has undertaken in the lead‐up to the levy reintroduction is certainly one that other jurisdictions can and should learn from,” Ms Sloan said.

“The government did not rush into this, but instead heeded the advice of stakeholders and provided time for industry and councils to make the necessary adjustments and prepare for the levy.”

According to Ms Sloan, the state government have committed to reinvest 70 per cent of levy funds into the waste industry to drive investment in the domestic remanufacturing sector.

“WMRR recognises change is not easy, we know business as usual is not an option and we believe that the Queensland Government is to be congratulated for this move,” Ms Sloan said.

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