Coun­cil asks state for re­lief from new levy

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Shane Ni­chols

CHINA’S de­ci­sion to stop ac­cept­ing waste from other na­tions is re­ver­ber­at­ing through the re­cy­cling in­dus­try in Aus­tralia, not least the role of lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

Dou­glas Shire this week an­nounced it will lodge a sub­mis­sion to pro­tect Dou­glas ratepay­ers from pro­posed levies in the State Gov­ern­ment’s new waste man­age­ment strat­egy.

The Gov­ern­ment plans to rein­tro­duce a waste dis­posal levy next year, trig­gered by China’s dis­rup­tion of the re­cy­cling in­dus­try busi­ness model here.

Mayor Ju­lia Leu said Coun­cil sup­ported the levy and recog­nised its im­por­tance in mov­ing Queens­land closer to­wards a cir­cu­lar econ­omy.

“We want to make sure our ratepay­ers aren’t the ones who wear the cost,” she said.

“It is vi­tal this pro­posed levy is not rushed and re­gional ar­eas such as Dou­glas Shire are guar­an­teed ac­cess to funds to help us keep up with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy and gain ac­cess to mar­kets.

“The levy will pro­vide much­needed fund­ing for in­fra­struc­ture, in­no­va­tion, pro­cess­ing tech­nolo­gies, education and waste min­imi­sa­tion pro­grams to drive com­po­nents of the waste hier­ar­chy.”

Dou­glas Shire and Cairns are the only two Coun­cils north of Ing­ham to pro­vide kerb­side and pub­lic place re­cy­cling. Dou­glas has pro­vided this service since 1996 and has moved to stop land­fill­ing by en­ter­ing into con­tracts with the Bed­min­ster Ad­vanced Waste Treat­ment (AWT).

The sub­mis­sion has been lodged to the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Sci­ence.

Mayor Leu said the levy could have sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial and re­source im­pacts on Coun­cil.

“Coun­cil is re­quest­ing that street and park lit­ter bins, as well as coun­cil-gen­er­ated waste are ei­ther ex­cluded from the levy or treated as Mu­nic­i­pal Solid Waste (MSW),” Mayor Leu said.

“Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil con­sid­ers waste a re­source and con­tin­ues to com­mit to pro­grams and pro­cesses that re­duce, re­use and re­cy­cle waste prod­ucts to stop this re­source end­ing up in land­fill.”

Mean­while, Port Dou­glas and Dain­tree this week moved a step closer to be­ing cer­ti­fied Aus­tralia’s first eco-cer­ti­fied tourism area.

Un­der the pro­gram be­ing driven by Coun­cil, Tourism Port Dou­glas Dain­tree, and Eco­tourism Aus­tralia, op­er­a­tors will be given guid­ance and as­sis­tance to com­plete their eco-ac­cred­i­ta­tion.

We want to make sure our ratepay­ers aren’t the ones who wear the cost. It is vi­tal this pro­posed levy is not rushed

Mayor Ju­lia Leu

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