Exemptions for disaster waste

The Department of Environment and Science (the department) may identify waste as being exempt from the waste levy if it has been generated by or because of:

  • a disaster declared under the Disaster Management Act 2003 (a State-declared disaster) or
  • a serious local event that has been notified to the department by local government (see information for local governments).

These wastes, often called disaster waste, include waste generated during the clean-up, repair, demolition (partial or complete) and/or reconstruction (partial or complete) of an affected building, item of infrastructure, and/or public space. For an affected building or item of infrastructure, this includes contents, and structural/non-structural materials used in construction.

Current waste levy exemptions

Exempt waste declarations currently in effect are listed in the below table. Waste that meets the requirements of these exemptions are not subject to the waste levy.

Declared disaster waste may be disposed of (levy free) where it is:

  • generated as a result of the related disaster
  • sourced from the relevant local government area
  • taken to an approved waste disposal site
  • delivered to the disposal site within the effective period.

It is important to note that despite a waste being exempt from the levy, a landfill operator may charge a gate fee to receive and manage the waste. This fee is separate to the waste levy and is set by the landfill operator.

Exempt waste declarations currently in effect
Related disaster Local government area (waste must be sourced from this area) Approved waste disposal sites (sites where the waste can be taken) Effective period (must be disposed of between these dates) Declaration document
Severe weather and flooding event in February and March 2022 Lismore City Council area (only if transported by contractors approved by the NSW EPA). Ti Tree Bioenergy, Champions Way, Willowbank QLD

Stapylton Waste and Recycling Centre, Rossmanns Road Stapylton
4 September 2022 – 31 December 2022 Declaration (PDF, 172 KB)
Severe weather and flooding event in February and March 2022 Brisbane City Council area (only if collected and disposed of from Stable Swamp Creek and Brisbane Markets Rocklea by Pipe Management Australia Pty Ltd or their contractors) Bemcove Pty Ltd, Bemcove (Acacia Ridge), Watsons Rd, Acacia Ridge 9 November 2022 – 10 February 2023 Declaration (PDF, 254 KB)

State-declared disaster exemptions

Once a disaster situation is declared under the Disaster Management Act 2003 and is published by gazettal notice, the department will generate a declaration for disaster management waste to be exempt waste. The declaration will cover:

  • the local government areas covered under the declaration
  • the type of waste that is to be exempt waste
  • the waste disposal sites that the disaster management waste will be disposed
  • the period of approval for the declaration.

The declaration will then be published on the Queensland Government website.

During the declaration process the department will contact the waste disposal sites that will receive the disaster management waste to provide them with relevant information, including the exempt waste number to be used in data recording and waste data returns.

Serious local events—information for local governments

What is a serious local event?

Communities may experience serious situations that are not declared as State disasters under the Disaster Management Act 2003. These can still have a devastating effect on local communities.

Events that cause a serious disruption in a community and require a significant coordinated response by a local government and other entities to help the community recover, are considered serious local events.

These may include situations where there is a loss of human life, illness or injury to humans, widespread or severe property loss or widespread or severe damage to the environment.

The event may be natural or caused by human acts or omissions, and includes:

  • a cyclone, earthquake, flood, storm, storm tide, tornado, tsunami, volcanic eruption or other natural happening
  • an explosion or fire, a chemical, fuel or oil spill, or a gas leak
  • an infestation, plague or epidemic (e.g. prevalence of foot-and-mouth disease)
  • a failure of, or disruption to, an essential service or infrastructure
  • an attack against the State
  • another event similar to those mentioned above.

How to notify the department of a serious local event

A local government may notify the department if there is (or will be) a serious local event in the local government area, and an exemption from the levy should be allowed.

The notification must include information about:

  • the type of waste that is to be exempt from the waste levy
  • the waste disposal sites that will receive the exempt waste
  • the period for which the waste will be exempt from the levy.

A form (DOCX, 179 KB) is available to notify the department and should be submitted by email to WasteLevyApps@des.qld.gov.au.

The form requests advice on whether the landfill operator charges a fee for delivery of the waste to the waste disposal site. In this case, it would not be exempt as serious local event waste but may be declared by the department as exempt waste under exceptional circumstances.

Following notification, the department will issue a declaration and publish details of the exemption on the department’s website.

How to extend the exemption period for serious local event waste

The maximum period for which the waste can be exempt as serious local event waste is 7 days prior to the serious local event and 28 days after the serious local event ends. To extend this period, local governments may make an application for approval of waste as exempt waste.

Local governments are encouraged to contact the department by email WasteLevyApps@des.qld.gov.au to discuss their situation prior to submitting a notification or making an application to extend an exemption.