Waste levy thrown on scrap heap

GLAD: Director of planning and environment Ken Harris.
GLAD: Director of planning and environment Ken Harris. Emma Channon

BUSINESS owners and the council called it a load of garbage and less than six months after it was implemented the state waste levy is headed for the scrap heap.

The ALP Bligh Government levy was one of the first pieces of legislation on the chopping block as the LNP resolved to dump it by July 1 at this week's Cabinet meeting - a move welcomed by Warwick Buckaroo Motor Inn owner David Birdling.

"It's just another burden on the ratepayer, operating any business is a struggle then add paying a tax which is not even beneficial," he said.

"We have a commercial bin and we get that emptied every fortnight to three weeks.

"It's going straight into the government coffers - if I felt that it was a benefit to the region I wouldn't have an issue with it."

Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) planning and environment director Ken Harris was also glad the levy is being abolished - even though it meant a large amount of council resources had gone to waste.

He said council only acted as a collector and all of the funds were passed on to the State Government.

"It will probably simplify our operation but the real issue for us is the huge amount of time and resources ... weeks of senior staff time," he said.

Mr Harris said council staff had never sat down and worked out exactly how much implementing the levy had cost rate payers but it was "substantial".

He said the issue now was whether council would be reimbursed for any of the expenses incurred to put the levy in place.

"For example the council ... is setting up a weigh-bridge (at the Stanthorpe Waste Transfer Station)," he said. "The bridge itself costs $100, 000 to $150, 000 and that doesn't include any other work."

Premier Campbell Newman said abolishing the "flawed" levy - which slugged businesses $35 a tonne for waste - would reduce the cost of living.

"And we will be looking at alternative funding streams to deliver an industry-driven waste strategy," he said.

Topics:  garbage, rubbish, warwick, waste levy



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