State-wide turmoil, Council extends waste management review
CHINA'S decision to stop accepting Australian recyclable waste has prompted a 12-month delay to Southern Downs Regional Council's review of its waste management strategy.
SDRC stood by its decision to extend the JJ Richards' waste management contract and delay the review as other councils across the state reconsider their position on recyclables.
Councillor for waste management, Cameron Gow, said industry uncertainty was behind the council's decision to delay the 10-year strategy, which was due for renewal in June this year.
The strategy was due for renewal in June this year.
"As a council, we need to be as well-informed as the waste collection companies as to where things are headed," Cr Gow said.
"The waste collection companies that take recycling would need to be ready and mindful about what they are going to do."
But members of the community have expressed concerns about transparency in the waste industry.
Steven Alldridge said the news that other councils were putting recyclable waste in landfill cast doubt on local waste management.
"No one here even knows where JJ Richards carts all the recyclables," he said. "Is recycling financially viable for our council at this time?"
Cr Gow said he was unaware of where local recyclable materials were transported.
"I am asking staff to find out more about that so we have that information when we go out to do community consultation," he said.
Mr Gow expects to release a draft of the new waste management strategy and call for tenders in the coming months.
Zero waste would be good
Southern Downs mayor Tracy Dobie said she was supportive of the Premier's call last night for a "zero landfill" future for Queensland, but would need to consider the practicalities.
Cr Dobie said the council would not be changing its waste management practices, despite state-wide concerns that local governments would follow Ipswich council's lead in dumping its recycling program.
"It is not our intention to go down that track at this point in time," Cr Dobie said.
"We have extended the JJ Richards contract for one year while we review the changes that have been happening around the world."
Local Government Association of Queensland chief executive Greg Hallam said the recent decision (since repealed) by Ipswich City Council to send recycled waste to landfill would prompt other councils to follow suit.
"Not every council, but certainly others will," he told the Brisbane Times.
The concerns prompted an urgent response from the state government, which pledged to bring in a waste levy that would incentivise the recycling industry to scale up and encouraging waste-to-energy enterprises to set up in Queensland.
But Cr Dobie said the council's draft waste management strategy was still being prepared, and no decisions on the future of Southern Downs waste management had been made.
"At this stage there will be no change."
Mr Aldriged hope the review would provide more information and transparency for Southern Downs residents.
"Cost is the biggest factor and a lack of transparency about where it is actually going," he said.
"It would be nice to know if they are recycling it genuinely, is it viable and if there are costs what are they going to be."