Families dumped with cost of waste levy
COUNCIL rates could be increased to cover the cost of the Palaszczuk Government's waste levy despite assurances from the state that costs would not be passed on to families.
The Local Government Association of Queensland has warned household budgets could be impacted by the levy, with rate hikes slated as a way councils could recoup about $10 million in costs.
The LGAQ has told the parliamentary committee examining the levy Bill that, unless changes are made, there would be a bottom line impact on households.
The LGAQ fears the legislation does not consider the complexities and costs of delivering waste services, particularly in rural areas.
"These operational costs will have direct impacts on ratepayers and will be passed on as an unavoidable direct cost to households from this State Government-imposed tax," its submission says.
"However, it is of significant concern that State Government funding will not be adequate and only provides up to 70 per cent of the associated costs, except in limited circumstances. This will place a significant financial burden on councils and inevitably the community."
LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam said councils affected would have to absorb the cost or pass it on in rates.
"We believe the figure is somewhere around $10 to $12 million per annum," he said.
But he also acknowledged that the Government had already "come some of the way" and committed to covering a significant portion of the cost.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the Government had spent $5 million so councils would be "levy ready".
"The only way this will cost households more is if councils don't use the advanced payment as it is intended," she said.
"Ratepayers will be expecting their local councils to have the integrity to do the right thing. In this year's Budget we allocated $32 million for advance payments to councils, which will cover 105 per cent of the cost of their municipal waste."
As recently as June, the Government said households would face no extra costs.
In March, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said: "I made the commitment that my Government would not increase taxes for Queensland households - and I stand by that," she said.
Opposition environment spokesman David Crisafulli would not say if the LNP would scrap the levy.
He said less than 10 per cent of money raised from the levy would go to environmental measures.
"We've got a tax that has been rammed down our throat under a false promise of not costing everyday Queenslanders and it's not even going to environmental initiatives," he said.
The committee will hear submissions today.