Queensland action on interstate transport of waste welcomed – NSW Government shamed for failure

In Parliament | 20.03.18

The Berejiklian Government has been shamed for its inaction as the Queensland Government today announced it would act to stop NSW-based trucks transporting nearly 1 million tonnes of rubbish over the border each year.

The NSW Opposition has welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement that a waste levy will be introduced as a sensible, constructive decision – noting the sharp contrast with the NSW Government’s total failure to take action against the interstate transport of waste to Queensland.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton has not lifted a finger to address the issue, despite losing millions of dollars in government revenue each year and failing a range of waste policy outcomes, including:

  1. The loss of more than $100 million in lost levy revenue for NSW
  2. The lack of waste and recycling industry job creation as materials are processed interstate
  3. Watching idly while landfilled waste in NSW is exhumed, to be loaded onto trucks to Queensland and then receive reimbursement from the NSW Government for reclaimed landfill space
  4. Failing to check compliance as waste is falsely recorded as recycled in NSW before being dumped as waste into Queensland landfill sites
  5. Standing by while each year thousands of trucks make the 1,800km return trip from Sydney to south-east Queensland, unnecessarily clogging up highways and belching exhaust emissions

The lack of action showed the NSW Environment Minister was asleep at her desk, with nothing being done and crucial revenue and jobs walking out the door.

NSW now faces another waste policy test, with an impending kerbside recycling crisis in NSW that could lead to local councils refusing to process household recycling due to the recent Chinese ‘National Sword’ policy, resulting in China rejecting much of Australia’s exported recyclable materials.

Today’s announcement of funding from the Waste Less, Recycle More package in NSW is welcome, however it is critical the Government does not rely on increasing stockpiling of recyclable material as the best solution to this problem – NSW needs to develop viable markets for recyclable materials to ensure no interruption to kerbside recycling and divert recycling away from landfill.

Quotes attributable to Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe MLC 

“I commend the Queensland Government for their constructive decision to reintroduce a waste levy – the levy is a key environment policy and it should never have been scrapped by the previous Newman Government. 

“In NSW the Berejiklian Government’s response has been a pathetic stream of blame and inaction, and all the while trucks have been lining the highways and millions of dollars for the state has been lost. 

“Today’s announcement of funding to address the impending kerbside recycling crisis in NSW is a welcome start – but NSW cannot afford another “hands-off” approach from our do-nothing Environment Minister.”