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Tasmania’s landfill levy commitment supported by local government and waste body

The Tasmanian government has released its Draft Waste Action Plan, which highlights the introduction of a waste levy and the reduction of the volume of organic waste sent to landfill among key targets.

Tasmania is one of few states in Australia that does not currently have a container deposit scheme (CDS) or waste levy, but the commitment to these in the action plan is considered a good move in managing waste in the state.

Following the release of the plan in late June, Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) applauded the state on its commitment to a waste levy.

WMRR CEO Gayle Sloan said WMRR is pleased that Tasmania finally has a waste and resource recovery strategy.

“In releasing the plan, the minister has acknowledged that waste management is a shared responsibility between all levels of government, the private sector, and community,” she said.

In its plan, the Tasmanian government indicated it will continue work with industry, local government and other stakeholders to develop to improve waste management in the state.

Targeted consultation with these groups identified numerous priorities and the following key actions and targets were announced:

  • Introduce a waste levy by 2021 to fund waste management and resource recovery activities;
  • Introduce a CDS in Tasmania by the end of 2022;
  • Ensure 100 per cent of packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025;
  • Reduce waste generated in Tasmania by 5 per cent per person by 2025 and 10 per cent by 2030;
  • Achieve a 40 per cent average recovery rate from all waste streams by 2025 and 80 per cent by 2030;
  • Have the lowest incidence of littering in the country by 2023;
  • Work at the national level and with local government and businesses in Tasmania to phase out problematic and unnecessary plastics by 2030; and
  • Reduce the volume of organic waste sent to landfill by 25 per cent by 2025 and 50 per cent by 2030.

Sloan said Tasmania’s former Environment Minister, Elise Archer, should be congratulated for listening to industry about the importance of a levy as an economic tool for prioritising resource recovery, as well as working with industry and the community to design and set the levy.

“This is a show of great leadership.

“WMRR genuinely looks forward to working with government on both the strategy and the levy as we strongly believe Tasmania has a great opportunity to create resource recovery jobs and a circular economy, given the commitment of the Tasmanian community to the environment,” Sloan said.

Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) CEO, Pete Shmigel, said the plan is likely to increase the combined environmental and economic benefits that Tasmanians get from improved resource recovery.

“ACOR also thinks it’s terrific innovation that the Treasurer Peter Gutwein will also be Environment Minister. It helps recognise that recycling is a great way to combine ‘green’
and ‘gold’ as it is both an economic and environmental positive. Every 10,000 tonnes of material recycled generates some six jobs,” he said.

ACOR noted the CDS, setting waste reduction goals, a commitment to a new administrative structure for waste minimisation, and acknowledgement of the need for national coordination as some key features of the action plan.

Shmigel said ACOR now encourages the Tasmanian government to set the new levy at a sufficient level that drives positive results and industry investment and to ensure that the dedicated management body to guide improved resource recovery involves both local government and industry experts.

ACOR also wants the government to have full transparency and independent governance in running its new CDS and to make commitments to positive procurement of recycled content products to boost local manufacturers.

Local Government Association Tasmania (LGAT) president, Mayor Doug Chipman, said the local government sector had been calling for action and leadership on waste and recycling.

“It is pleasing to see the state government announcing a state-wide waste levy and the release of the draft Waste Action Plan.

“We welcome the commitment by the state government to also develop legislation to control how the revenue collected from the levy will be directed. This will ensure resources applied to supporting industry councils and the community in developing markets for recycled product and improving resource recovery,” Chipman said.

The Draft Waste Action Plan is now out for consultation.