As Queensland’s Environment Minister, I am deeply concerned about how the Mayor of Mount Isa Joyce McCulloch has been using the Waste Disposal levy as an excuse to increase council rates.
It is also disappointing the Member for Traeger Robbie Katter and the Mayor have been talking down the region’s capacity to recycle. Mount Isa could see a growth in the recycling industry, creating more jobs and investment if local politicians recognised the regions potential.
As a State we need to improve how we manage our waste. In Mount Isa, over 14,000 tonnes of waste was collected in 2016-17 and 98% of it went into landfill.
That means only 2% of waste was recycled. This is one of the worst rates in Queensland but it is possible to do better with the right investment in the industry.
We want Mount Isa to have the capacity to recycle and re-use waste, and in turn create more jobs. This is what the Palaszczuk Government is working towards.
We know that there are more jobs in recycling than landfill, and that’s an opportunity we need to grasp, which is why the waste management strategy that the Government is developing is so important.
Despite what your Mayor and Council alongside your state member might be saying, Mount Isa residents should not be paying more to put out their wheelie bin or take a load of rubbish to the tip.
Our Government is providing payments in advance to local councils to ensure they don’t have to pass on the cost to ratepayers.
The council will be paid more than the cost of disposing municipal waste (which includes waste from wheelie bins and parks) and they will have extra funds to invest in waste management programs.
These payments are mentioned in the legislation, the funding will be allocated each year based on the previous year’s landfill rates. Our government is offering further funding, including a $100m industry development program, and $5m to help councils with infrastructure upgrades.
We have put money on the table to support councils and make sure you don’t pay more to put out your wheelie bin when the waste levy starts in March 2019.
Instead of talking down recycling and using the waste levy as an excuse to increase council rates I encourage the Mayor and her Council and Mr Katter to use this opportunity to create more jobs in your community.
This is about our future.