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Council to seek exemption from Waste Levy Zone

The residents and businesses of Mount Isa could be facing additional costs to dispose of waste, if the city is not exempt from the proposed Waste Levy Bill that is being introduced to parliament this month and effective from 4th March 2019. 

Mayor Joyce McCulloch said Council had been working alongside the LGAQ to provide feedback to the Transforming Queensland’s Recycling and Waste Industry – Directions Paper, and recommend that Mount Isa and Maranoa regions are exempt from the bill.

“Mount Isa is the only local government area amongst the 38 included in the proposed new Queensland waste levy zone which is non-contiguous with the coastline,” Cr McCulloch said.

“This proposed levy will cause a net cost to the Mount Isa economy and we believe that Mount Isa, as a region, will, because of high transport costs, be uncompetitive in securing a grant from the waste levy financial assistance package.

“Further, virtually no allowance has been made for Mount Isa’s extremely isolated situation.”

Cr McCulloch said Mount Isa’s unique circumstances, including higher transport costs, means it will be less able to avoid or minimise the levies it has to pay, compared to any of the 37 other regional councils. Thus, as the waste levy subsidy to councils declines over time, the levy might increasingly be perceived as an unfair way of raising revenue from Mount Isa.

“Current analysis of waste to landfill tells us that we could expect to pay up to $2.5m in each year in levies, and although there are rebates in place, it has been declared that they will reduce quickly and significantly to encourage waste reduction innovation, which is to be applauded, but places Mount Isa in the unique position amongst the 38 identified levied locations, where we are the most remote, have a small population, and less likely to attract grant-supported capital investment waste projects due to limited demand and high operating and transport costs.

“I can only see this as detrimental to the community of Mount Isa, and once again we have been unfairly compared to coastal regions, which have easier and more affordable access to many services.”

Council will continue to advocate for Mount Isa, and will continue to seek support from Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter so we can be excised from the waste levy zone.