The Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce says it’s time to “rally the troops” amid fears that businesses, events and households are set to bear the brunt of the State Government’s ‘bin tax’.
Despite promises that the controversial Waste Levy introduced in 2019 would have no direct impact on households, State budget papers revealed in June that the future of advance payments to councils to offset the levy were under threat, with money allocated to the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy reducing from $176.8 million in 2021/22 to just $23 million in subsequent years.
Hinchinbrook Shire Council admitted in August that without advance payments to afford relief from the waste levy, every household receiving a wheelie bin rubbish service will see their annual waste charge rise by at least $75.00.
But while negotiations between the Queensland Government and councils continue as part of a review into the strategy, Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce President Rachael Coco said that discussions needed to expand to consider the voices of businesses that will be impacted on a “much grander scale.”
“Businesses and industry groups are already embracing and adopting environmentally responsible and sustainable business practices, we don’t need to be disincentivised – a ‘bin tax’ is just bad for business” said Ms Coco.
“The Waste Levy was controversial from the start, with questions about its effectiveness and concerns that businesses and households would ultimately pay the cost, but the state government committed to advance payments to get it over the line and now they’re dangerously close to reneging” she said.
“The LGAQ has gone into bat for local councils but we think there needs to be more pressure from the business community, so we’ve contacted a number of industry representative bodies to advocate for support and we’re thrilled to announce that Master Builders Queensland has already committed to supporting the LGAQ on its mission.”
“It’s time to rally the troops, businesses such as caravan parks, retirement villages and builders will be especially hit hard by the waste levy and not-for-profit organisations that run local events will be slammed if councils lose their advance payments, we need to work together and convince the Queensland Government to honour its commitments.”
The Queensland Waste Levy covers around 90% of Queensland’s population and was introduced to stem interstate dumping, reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and encourage better resource recovery practices.
Hinchinbrook Member for Parliament Nick Dametto said that KAP accepts the need to reduce landfill and fully supports using technology and innovations to help Queensland reduce its environmental footprint, but they do not support governments “taxing their way” to a goal.
“The waste levy policy was drastically under-developed when it was introduced and nothing has changed since other than Brisbane is pulling more money out of the community” said Mr Dametto.
“Despite Labor promising in 2018 that the cost of the waste levy would never be passed on to ratepayers, we have always known that was going to be the case (and) that’s why the KAP spoke out against the levy when it was introduced in the first place” he said.
Mr Dametto said that as the 105% subsidy that was initially given as a “sweetener” to councils lessens over time, the local governments will have to pass this cost on to ratepayers, leading to higher dump fees and possibly the cancellation of free dumping days and kerbside pick-ups.
“Our rates will possibly go up as someone has to pay and Labor has decided it’s the community” he said.
“Extreme “green” ideological crusaders, many who are affluent and live in the cities, have no idea about how their policies – such as the waste levy – impact people on the ground and I expect they don’t care either.”