Operation TORA is an intensive compliance program by a Waste Industry Compliance Investigation Taskforce set up by the Department of Environment and Science (DES).
The Operation was established in 2015 to stamp out any unlicensed waste management operators in Queensland. In 2017, Operation TORA expanded to include licensed operators not complying with their environmental obligations.
Operation TORA’s aim is to deliver an integrated compliance and regulatory program, in partnership with industry and the community, to protect environmental values, and promote community confidence in waste management and regulation.
Activities under the Operation are focused on reducing any impacts from regulated waste activities, such as waste recycling or reprocessing, waste storage, waste transport, and waste treatment.
The Operation comprises proactive targeted compliance programs, response to community and industry information reports, and industry and community engagement.
Operators found to be operating unlawfully, or unlicensed, will be met with appropriate enforcement action—such as penalty infringement notices or prosecution in accordance with enforcement guidelines.
Operation TORA has resulted in (as at June 2018):
- Prosecutions resulting in more than $430,000 in fines and legal costs.
- More than 4650 waste operation investigations and inspections. This includes:
- more than 260 waste transport vehicle intercepts and inspections
- 127 treated timber waste inspections
- and 65 waste tyre inspections.
- 597 enforcement measures.
Proactive compliance programs
South east Queensland
Interstate waste transportation inspection program
In August 2017, the department started working with the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) on a special compliance activity involving waste vehicle inspections across south-east Queensland.
The checks were to ensure waste coming into Queensland is legally able to, is being safely transported, is being disposed of correctly, and is conducted in such a way that there are no harmful environmental impacts.
Since 10 August 2017, more than 260 waste-related truck operators have been intercepted and inspected by environmental compliance staff. Most of the operators were compliant with environmental legislation, however some matters remain under investigation. Additional rounds of interceptions are planned for the remainder of 2018.
DES is continuing to collaborate with TMR on waste transportation compliance, including checks on waste that has originated from interstate. In 2017 the Queensland Government established an independent investigation into interstate waste transport.
Targeted waste facility inspection program
In May 2017, the first stage of the Waste Tyres Targeted Compliance Program was initiated, by undertaking an intelligence analysis of waste tyre generators, transporters, and disposal practices and sites. Following this, officers undertook inspections at 65 waste tyre generator sites. More than 45 warnings were issued during the program for minor non-compliances identified. The program also provided education of tyre retailers to ensure ongoing compliance with environmental legislation.
Greater Ipswich area
Targeted waste facility inspection program
In August 2017, a program of comprehensive targeted inspections was undertaken of waste management facilities within the greater Ipswich area. The program reviewed all potential environmental risks, compliance with conditions of the site’s environmental authorities and other legislative requirements, as well as a review of waste acceptance practices and receipts to assist with uncovering any potential unlawful waste transporters or activities.
Swanbank odour targeted compliance project
Targeted compliance inspections of local industry were carried out in the suburb of Swanbank in Ipswich over the 2016/2017 summer period to ensure licence conditions were being met and operators have appropriate odour management measures in place. The inspections are part of a range of actions by the Queensland Government and local government to address the ongoing odour issues being experienced by residents surrounding the suburb. Read more about this project here.
Treated timber waste targeted compliance program
In September 2017, the Treated Timber Targeted Compliance Program commenced. The aim of the program was to improve understanding of the disposal practices for treated timber waste material by timber treatment and milling facilities throughout the state, and to implement regulatory controls to ensure appropriate management of this waste stream. More than 125 inspections were conducted by departmental officers, resulting in 11 warnings and 4 Penalty Infringement Notices being issued for identified non-compliances.
- March 2018 – Individual fined for illegal waste activities
- March 2018 – Narangba company fined $130,000 for mishandling oily waste
- December 2017 – Resident reports matter
- September 2017 – Huge fine for transporting waste without licence
- August 2017 – Operation TORA expands in the south east
Are you a member of the community?
To report suspected unlawful waste transport, storage, disposal or recycling activities:
- Phone the Pollution Hotline (1300 130 372) or
- Email PollutionHotline@des.qld.gov.au.
See Reporting Pollution for the type of information that is useful to report and further information.