CALL: Burnett MP Stephen Bennett.
CALL: Burnett MP Stephen Bennett. Geordi Offord

Burnett MP: waste levy needs to return to environment

BURNETT MP Stephen Bennett said funds generated by the new waste levy paid by local councils and privates would likely be wasted through political favouritism and to fix state budget shortcomings.

Mr Bennett was among LNP State MPs in the Queensland Parliament on Tuesday evening criticising aspects of the waste levy, which has been under effect for about 50 days.

"I am not denying that the waste levy is going to be important,” the LNP member said.

"Unfortunately, it is not going to be effective under a Labor government because a Labor government will find a way to waste money and not provide the innovation and outcomes that a waste levy should provide.

"This is another example of pork-barrelling, plugging holes and using it to prop up the budget.

"Spending only a third of the budget on re-education and initiatives is not good enough.”

Mr Bennett said there were many people in Bundaberg and in the Burnett electorate concerned about the levy and its impacts on families, retirees, and in the construction sector.

But he said his parliamentary objection at this point in time was about the usage of the funds.

"This is about wanting to use the money from the levy for more important outcomes such as innovation and real recycling schemes,” Mr Bennett said.

"On the back of the federal government's renewed vision on recycling, we must have this state government reinvest in innovation and technology, not plug budget black holes

"We want to see the benefits that can come from recycling, because we know that right now waste is a difficult industry to deal with and a difficult industry to store.”

The levy affects 39 local government areas including Bundaberg, where most waste is dumped.

70 per cent of revenue within the next three years is expected to be returned to councils, industry programs and through environmental projects, according to the Queensland Government website.

The website said landfill operators would make business decisions on if the levy is passed through to customers, but households would not be directly impacted.

"To deliver this, councils will receive annual payments to offset the costs of the waste levy,” the website said.

Housing Minister Michael de Brenni said the introduction of a waste levy would not increase construction costs, but instead would create incentives to motivate changes in the industry.

"The national peak body gets it. They know the levy is a signal to the market that there is a real and positive value in resource recovery and a positive value in diverting waste from landfill,” he said.

"The fact is we all know that landfill destroys the natural value of areas, increases the prevalence of pests and weeds and is responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases.

"It is a burden to nearby residents and business, but reducing this waste is not just good for the environment, it is also good for the home owner's back pocket.”