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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 a waste disposal levy which is proposed to commence on 1 July 2019.

Bill introduced to Parliament

The levy requires amendments to existing legislation. Following consideration of over 100 submissions on the Transforming Queensland’s Recycling and Waste Industry Directions Paper, which was released on 1 June 2018, and consultation with the Recycling and Recycling and Waste Management Stakeholder Advisory Group (PDF, 367KB) a Bill for these amendments was introduced into the Queensland Parliament on 6 September 2018.

View a copy of the Bill which proposes the amendments to legislation and a copy of the Explanatory Notes for the Bill.

The Parliamentary Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment Committee considered the Bill and tabled its report on 22 October 2018 with one recommendation that the Bill be passed.

On 17 November 2018, the Honourable Leeanne Enoch MP Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science, and Minister for the Arts, announced that the Queensland Government has responded to stakeholder requests, and the waste levy will now commence on 1 July 2019. Read the media statement.

Minor changes are proposed to the Bill to implement the new start date of the levy and address some issues raised during consultation. The Bill is now expected to be debated in 2019.

Draft regulation

To accompany the Bill, a draft of a regulation that will support the Bill was released for a period of consultation which closed on 15 October 2018.

Read the consultation overview (PDF, 658KB) about the draft regulation (PDF, 271KB).

The changes to the waste levy announced on 17 November 2018, will also affect the draft regulation. The levy for most waste will be $75 per tonne at the later start on 1 July 2019. Smaller changes to the draft regulation are also proposed as a result of consultation.

The regulation cannot be finalised until the Bill for the waste levy amendments becomes law.

When approved, the regulation will:

  • include a schedule of Local Government Areas in the levy zone
  • set levy rates and annual increases
  • describe how annual advance payments to local governments will be calculated
  • provide more detail on levy exemptions and discounts
  • provide a consistent way to measure waste when a weighbridge is not used
  • set fees for applications.

Waste levy zone

The Bill provides for Queensland to be divided into a levy zone and a non-levy zone. The proposed levy zone includes 39 out of 77 local government areas. 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

Waste levy zone map

Waste levy zone map

View larger Waste levy zone map (PDF, 1.0MB)

Levy rates

Proposed levy rates are:

Waste classificationLevy rate (per tonne)
General waste: municipal solid waste, commercial and industrial; construction and demolition$75
Regulated waste: Category 1$155
Regulated waste: Category 2$105

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

For more information on regulated waste categories, view the Environmental Protection (Regulated Waste) Amendment Regulation 2018.

Levy exemptions and discounts

Some wastes are proposed to be exempt from the levy including:

  • wastes resulting from a declared disaster such as a cyclone, bushfire or flood
  • certain types of lawfully managed and transported asbestos waste
  • litter and illegally dumped waste collected by government and councils.

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
  • transitional exemptions for existing recycling and recovery facilities
  • discounts for new or existing recycling facilities which contribute to making Queensland self-sufficient in waste processing.

The core requirement for these exemptions and discounts are contained in the Bill. Further details on the eligibility requirements and conditions are set out in the draft regulation.

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, the Bill provides for payments to be made to councils with an obligation that the funds provided are used to offset the levy.

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

Measuring waste

It is proposed that 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 skip bin where a site does not have a weighbridge or where the weighbridge is inoperable.

Tables for deeming the amount of waste are included in the draft 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 draft regulation sets out these details.