What’s new in waste this new financial year?

Effective from 1 July 2019, many State governments have introduced or increased waste levies at their landfills and collection depots.

NSW will see a marginal waste levy rate increase in line with CPI.

Victorians will again benefit from no waste levy increase since 2009. E-waste is now banned from landfills in Victoria.

Queensland has controversially re-introduced a new waste levy in areas designated as a ‘waste levy zone’ hoping to promote recycling and reduce the quantity of waste brought in from interstate. The ‘waste levy zone’ covers approximately 90% of Queensland’s population and 39 out of 77 local government areas, including all of South-East Queensland and coastal regions south of Cairns. Notably, waste generated within the ‘waste levy zone’, but disposed of outside the zone, is still subject to the new waste levy in order to prevent intrastate waste transport. The Queensland Government has also released an Energy from Waste Policy Discussion Paper for consultation. Coupled with the re-introduction of a waste levy, this indicates a shift away from traditional landfills towards innovative solutions. The Discussion Paper forms part of Queensland’s Waste Strategy released on 1 July 2019 aimed at providing “a strategic plan for better harnessing the potential value of resources that have traditionally been discarded, whilst reducing the impact of waste on the environment and communities.

South Australian businesses will also face an increase in waste levy rates, with the solid waste levy for metropolitan Adelaide increasing from $100 per tonne to $110/tonne from 1 July 2019 onwards and to $140/tonne from 1 July 2020 onwards.

Tasmania is also proposing big changes from 2021. While the Government has avoided the imposition of a waste levy to date, it has announced a complete policy turn-around aimed at reducing organic waste going to landfill by 50%, 40% waste recovery by 2025 and 80% waste recovery by 2030. There is also to be a container deposit scheme. The amount of the waste levy has not yet been announced.

There is some concern within industry that the increased waste levies in some States and discrepancies between the levies applied generally without an ‘All-States’ or ‘Eastern Seaboard’ solution will result in a spike in illegal dumping and continued cross-border waste transit. Early reports suggest that the introduction of the waste levy in Queensland will reduce the amount of waste transported over the border from NSW. Data shows that the volume of waste transported in June 2019 (ahead of the introduction of the Queensland waste levy) was the lowest for any month since December 2016 (Footprint News, ‘Waste levy starts to bite’, 12.07.2019). It will be interesting to review the situation in several months’ time to get a better understanding of how waste levies are impacting industry.

Businesses can manage increases in waste costs by maximising their entitlements to waste levy exemptions and by taking advantage of waste disposal discounts for separated collection or disposal at non-metropolitan collection points, where that is available. Contact us to discuss this further.

See below for further information on waste levies in each jurisdiction.

New South Wales

Effective from 1 July 2019, the waste levy in NSW, which applies within the regulated areas, will be $143.60/tonne (up from $141.20) in metropolitan areas and $82.70/tonne (up from $81.30) in regional areas.

Click here for a full breakdown of other NSW rate increases for waste levies payable from 1 July 2019 (including concessional rates and levies on trackable liquids).

Queensland

Queensland introduced a waste levy (effective from 1 July 2019) of $75/tonne for general waste; $155/tonne for Category 1 regulated waste; and $105/tonne for Category 2 regulated waste. No distinction is made between the rates levied in metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas.

Click here for a list of Category 1 and Category 2 regulated waste. Click here for a full breakdown of waste levy rates payable in Queensland.

Victoria

Prescribed industrial waste levy rates in Victoria have not increased since 1 July 2009 and will remain the same for 1 July 2019. Click here for a full breakdown of waste levy rates payable in Victoria.

South Australia

From 1 July 2019, the solid waste depot levy in South Australia has increased to $110/tonne in metropolitan Adelaide and $55/tonne in non-metropolitan areas. Note that a substantial increase is forecast for 2020-21 where waste levies will increase to $140/tonne in metropolitan Adelaide and $70/tonne in non-metropolitan areas.

Click here for a full breakdown of other applicable waste levy rate increases in South Australia (including the liquid waste levy rate increase).

Western Australia

The landfill levy rates in Western Australian for 1 July 2019 onwards have not increased from 2018-19 rates.

Click here for a full breakdown of landfill levy rates in Western Australia.

Tasmania

Tasmania does not impose a state-wide waste levy. However, on 29 June 2019, the Tasmanian Government released a draft Waste Action Plan which details plans to introduce a legislated state-wide waste levy by 2021 (the amount of the levy is not yet specified).

Australian Capital Territory

The ACT Government is the owner of landfill in the ACT and therefore sets landfill ‘fees’ as opposed to levies. The ACT landfill fees have increased from 1 July 2019 onwards.

Click here for a full breakdown of the landfill fee increases payable in the ACT.

Northern Territory

There are no legislated waste levies in the Northern Territory.