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Waste disposal levy

The Queensland Government is developing a new waste management and resource recovery strategy to increase recycling and recovery and create new jobs. The strategy will be underpinned by the waste levy.

The amending provisions to re-introduce the waste levy are available to view in the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Waste Levy) Amendment Act 2019, which received royal assent on 21 February 2019.

The provisions will be added to the existing Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 on commencement on 1 July 2019.

On 21 March 2019, the Waste Reduction and Recycling (Waste Levy) Amendment Regulation 2019 was approved. It provides more detail on requirements to implement the waste levy.

The provisions will be added to the existing Waste Reduction and Recycling Regulation 2011 on commencement on 1 July 2019.

The new levy laws allow eligible organisations to apply for exemptions and discounts from the levy, as well as require other administrative notifications and declarations.

With the Regulation now approved, forms and templates to complete these will be available on this website as soon as possible. For further enquiries, email wastelevy@des.qld.gov.au.

Waste levy zone

The levy zone includes 39 out of 77 local government areas (PDF, 987KB). This covers around 90 per cent of Queensland’s population and is where the majority of waste is generated and disposed.

Levy liabilities
Waste generated inWaste disposed inLevy payable
Levy zone or outside QueenslandLevy zoneYes
Levy zone or outside QueenslandNon-levy zoneYes
Non-levy zoneLevy zoneYes
Non-levy zoneNon-levy zoneNo

Levy rates

Type of wasteLevy rate (per tonne) in 2019-2020 financial year
Treated timber sawdust and shavings$75
Earth contaminated with a hazardous contaminant from land recorded on the environmental management register or contaminated land register$75
Regulated waste: Category 1$155
Regulated waste: Category 2$105
Other levyable waste$75

The waste levy for all classifications will increase by $5 on 1 July each year.

For more information on regulated waste categories, view the Environmental Protection Regulation 2008.

Levy exemptions and discounts

Some wastes will be exempt from the levy including:

  • wastes resulting from a serious local event (for a limited period of time) or a declared disaster such as a cyclone, bushfire or flood
  • certain types of lawfully managed and transported asbestos waste
  • dredge spoil or clean earth
  • litter and illegally dumped waste collected by or for government, councils or plantation licensees
  • other waste prescribed by regulation including waste water that meets irrigation or livestock drinking water requirements, and time limited exemptions for road planings for eligible local governments, drinking water treatment residuals and fly ash from power stations.

Other exemptions and discounts are available on application. These include:

  • waste required for landfill operations including daily cover
  • waste received as part of donations or that have been left in and around recycling charity donation bins and stores
  • litter and illegally dumped waste which is collected as part of an activity such as Clean Up Australia Day
  • contaminated earth from land in the environmental management register or contaminated land register
  • biosecurity waste
  • serious local event waste
  • transitional exemptions for existing recycling and recovery facilities
  • discounts for recycling facilities which contribute to making Queensland self-sufficient in waste processing.

The core requirement for these exemptions and discounts are contained in the amendment Act, and further details on the eligibility requirements and conditions are set out in the supporting regulation.

With the Regulation now approved, forms and templates to complete these will be available on this website as soon as possible. For further enquiries, email wastelevy@des.qld.gov.au.

No direct impact on households

The Queensland Government has committed to ensuring that the introduction of the levy will have no direct impact on households.

To deliver this, payments will be made to eligible councils to offset the levy.

A formula for calculating the payments is included in the supporting regulation.

Measuring waste

Weighbridges must be used to measure waste delivered to large sites.

All waste disposal sites in the levy zone will need to install a weighbridge within five years but operators of very small sites may apply for an exemption from this requirement for up to 10 years under a transitional arrangement.

There will be a consistent way of deeming the amount of waste from the capacity of the vehicle or container where a site is not required to have a weighbridge or where the weighbridge is inoperable.

Tables for deeming the amount of waste are included in the supporting regulation.

Application fees

Fees will apply for some applications, while others (e.g. exemptions for charity waste and community litter collections) will be free. The supporting regulation sets out these details.