Qld targets bulk transport
Taskforce followed by investigations
QUEENSLAND has barricaded its borders, with a spate of compliance checks against what it describes as the threat of unlicensed waste management operators.
The bulk haulage overhaul was sparked by the Four Corners report Trashed, which illustrated the number of interstate businesses that had been dumping rubbish in Queensland to avoid recycling levies.
The government responded loudly, introducing border inspections undertaken by the Department of Transport and Main Roads and regular compliance checks by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
“I can confirm there will be a crackdown on bulk waste transport activities – from as early as tomorrow – to ensure that operators are strictly complying with all necessary regulatory requirements,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement released after the report was aired on August 9.
“As I have said the revelation this week that the NSW Government is not enforcing its own laws is alarming.”
The issue being, until levies are implemented the Queensland Government has limited capacity to stop the drivers, despite the EPA’s “Proximity Principle” which makes transporting waste by road more than 150km from where it was generated in NSW and offence.
A day later Operation TORA was announced.
“Officers from the Environment Department and Transport and Main Roads launched a joint agency operation yesterday at separate locations across South-east Queensland,” the statement read.
The TORA blitz, which involved stopping and inspecting more than 76 bulk waste trucks near Yamanto, resulted in the discovery of only one potential non-compliance matter.
The operation’s only fruit was borne by TMR, which issued 10 defect notices, unrelated to the ongoing waste issue leaving drivers as the victims in this interstate round of trash ping-pong.
The Premier also established a three-month independent investigation into the transport of waste into Queensland, following a round table with the waste industry.
However, what goes around comes around, especially in the recycling game.
It turns out the current government has been here before, a point that has been highlighted by outspoken Labor MP Jo-Ann Miller when she took to social media.
“It is simply untrue that the Queensland Government did not know about the problems with the Ipswich dumps, as I have been raising the matter for many years,” she wrote.
So have a few others, the issue spanning back to the former government dropped the waste levy in 2012.
The issue reached peak concern in February 2016 after the Courier Mail uncovered Queensland’s reputation as a dumping destination.
The government responded at the time by affirming its “crackdown” on waste announced in August 2015, which saw the establishment of the Waste Industry Compliance Investigation Taskforce and operation TORA.
The same operation which was again rolled out in the government’s most recent response, along with an independent investigation into the matter.
As the investigation is set to continue for three months, drivers will have to bear the brunt and wait to see
It is simply that the Queensland Government did not know about the problems with the Ipswich dumps, as I have been raising the matter for many years.
■ The Former LNP Government removes a levy on waste, it is now cheaper to dump in Queensland than NSW
■ The Environmental Protection agency introduces the “Proximity Principle”. It is now an offence to transport waste for more than 150km via the road
■ Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles establishes Waste Industry Compliance Investigation Taskforce
■ It is reported by Mayfam Media publication Inside Waste that the taskforce is to be wound up as part of the original six-month commitment
■ Courier Mail reports on the 400,000 tonnes of waste travelling to Queensland each year
■ Premier says she is considering fines and regulatory changes to tackle interstate waste dumping
■ Environment Department annual report details the Taskforce’s results through operation TORA
■ Palaszczuk Government broadcasts results of Pollution Hotline
■ Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate talks tough about stopping interstate rubbish being dumped on the Gold Coast
■ Four Corners broadcasts investigation into Queensland waste dumping
■ Queensland Government releases statement: Operation TORA rolls out
■ Queensland Government meets with industry at round table
■ Independent investigation into waste dumping announced
— MP Jo-Ann Miller
how the new compliance checks differ from those announced last time.
REUSE AND RECYCLE: The Premier has launched an investigation into waste.
Thiess is operating a landfill waste site that captures methane gas. .