Tasmania to introduce statewide waste levy

The Tasmanian government has announced plans to introduce a waste levy on the state’s landfill operators by November.

LGAT President Christina Holmdahl

It’s currently the only Australian state without such a tax.

The levy will begin at $20 per tonne, increasing to $40 after two years and $60 after four.

Landfill operators will be able to claim back the levy on waste they remove
from landfill via a resource recovery rebate.

The measure is included in the Waste and Resource Recovery Bill which was released for public consultation by the state government on Thursday.

Container deposit scheme

The government has also announced its preferred model for a container refund scheme, which would see 10 cent refund on recycled drink containers and the government tendering for the collection network.

The split responsibility model, which is already operating in NSW and ACT and being developed in Victoria, involves a scheme coordinator to run the scheme and a separate network operator in charge of deposit points.

Tasmania’s local councils have applauded the announcement of the container refund scheme.

LGAT President Christina Holmdahl says the peak body has been advocating for this model for a long time.

 “As the main provider of rubbish removal and recycling for Tasmanian communities, councils know a container refund scheme will both reduce the burden of plastic litter in our environment and increase recycling rates,” she said.

She says the split-governance model, which will separate responsibility for running the scheme from operating the collection network, will result in more collection points and a better return rate.

“The more containers returned means a lower cost scheme for the community and better environmental outcomes,” she said.

TOMRA Collection Solutions operates and provides technology for the scheme in NSW, QLD, NT and WA and is expected to tender for the Tasmanian contract.

“TOMRA will certainly carefully consider any tender the Tasmanian government issues and will be keen to bring its experience and expertise in CDS to Tasmania,” TOMRA’s director of business development and government affairs Markus Fravel told Government News.

Mr Fravel said the NSW scheme had demonstrated the benefits of having refund points at supermarkets and shopping centres.

“In most other schemes, consumers need to travel to specific industrial sites, which effectively transfers costs from the scheme operators onto consumers,” he said.

“As a consequence participation rates and recycling rates are higher in NSW – in fact 75 per cent of all people in NSW now participate and NSW just recycled its 5 billionth container.”

Proposed levy ‘too low’

The peak national body for the waste and resource recovery industry the WMRR welcomed Tasmania’s “flurry of positive announcements” but said proposed initial levy rate of $20 per tonne was too low to drive landfill diversion.

“WMRR looks forward to continued engagement with the Minister on the levy rate and more ahead of the November roll-out,” CEO Gayle Sloan said in a statement on Thursday.

The Tasmanian waste legislation also provides for the establishment of a Waste and Resource Recovery Board responsible for allocating funds raised via the levy.

Public consultation closes on March 12.

More information is available here.

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