From the $1.3 billion expected to be raised over four years through Queensland's waste levy, which will commence in January next year, $100 million has been allocated to resource recovery initiatives.

QLD Treasurer Jackie Trad.

Releasing the state's 2018-19 budget this week, Treasurer Jackie Trad announced a $100 million "down payment" over the next three years into a new Resource Recovery Industry Development Program.  

"This initiative will support innovation and investment in recycling and help new industries that manufacture products using recycled waste and create future jobs," Trad said.

The government is also providing increased funding of $5 million for waste to energy projects and $5 million to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over two years to remove waste metal build-up including vehicle stockpiles from communities located in the Torres Strait Island Regional Council, Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council and Torres Shire Council areas.

Additionally, increased funding of $3.9 million over four years has been provided to continue delivering the ecoBiz program that helps small to medium-sized businesses identify and achieve financial savings and eco-efficiency across energy, water and waste.

Last week, the government released a directions paper that included details on the waste levy, specifically, that it'd be reintroduced at $70/t for general waste, $150/t for regulated waste category 1 and $100/t for regulated waste category 2 (more here).

According to budget papers, the levy will raise $100 million in 2018-19 and then $405 million, $408 million, and $407 million in the following three years.

An annual advance on levy charges will be provided to some 40 affected councils and it is understood that 70% of the levy money collected will go towards this payment, the costs incurred by councils in administering the program, and supporting new disposal initiatives in communities.

Once that's been allocated, any surplus revenue will go towards grants of up to $5 million on a dollar-to-dollar basis to encourage the development of new large-scale facilities, as well as to schools, hospitals, and infrastructure.

Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) acknowledged that the government's pledge to provide $100 million from the waste levy is a good start but expressed its disappointment at the more than 30% of revenue generated by the levy being channelled into general revenue.

"While there is a strong commitment to ensuring the new levy supports the development of a thriving new waste to energy industry, we will continue to argue that all of the revenue the levy generates should be spent on building a zero waste future for Queensland sooner rather than later," LGAQ president Mark Jamieson said.
"On this we are on the side of local communities, who have said loud and clear that they want to see the waste levy money drive innovation not go back into general Treasury coffers."

The budget papers also unveiled the Department of Environment's key priorities for 2018-19:

  • lead the development of a comprehensive new waste strategy for Queensland, underpinned by a waste disposal levy that will have no direct impact on households;
  • roll out the container refund scheme commencing on November 1, 2018;
  • implement the ban on lightweight single-use plastic shopping bags commencing on July 1, 2018; and
  • implement reforms for the regulation of waste-related activities and specific wastes.