Qld tar­gets bulk trans­port

Task­force fol­lowed by in­ves­ti­ga­tions

Big Rigs - - NEWS - Kirstin Payne kirstin.payne@bi­grigs.com.au

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.

Déjà vu

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

❝un­true

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.

PHOTO: KIRSTIN PAYNE

RE­USE AND RE­CY­CLE: The Premier has launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into waste.

Thiess is op­er­at­ing a land­fill waste site that cap­tures methane gas. .

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