Queensland councils are threatening to pass on the costs of applying the state government’s waste levy to households, despite being allotted the money to pay for it.
The $70-a-tonne levy has been introduced in an effort to stop interstate dumping from states like NSW which already have a waste levy.
The southeast Queensland city of Ipswich been the site of a lot of interstate dumping, with public hearings for a parliamentary committee considering the bill held there on Thursday.
The Local Government Association of Queensland has warned councils could choose to cover the cost of the levy, which they estimate at around $10 million, by hiking rates for households.
“The legislation does not contain enough consideration for the complexities of the delivery of rural waste services and the already rising cost of waste management to small rate bases,” LGAQ wrote in its submission to the committee.
“These operational costs will have direct impacts on ratepayers and will be passed on as an unavoidable direct cost to households from this State Government imposed tax.”
But Treasurer Jackie Trad said the government has already allocated councils 105 per cent of the cost of implementing the levy, and any rises to rates would be councils’ responsibility.
“Ultimately what councils need to do, which is also what other levels of government need to do, is divert large amounts of waste away from landfill,” Ms Trad said on Thursday.
“Our commitment was that to put out your wheelie bin would cost not one cent more, and we stand by that.”
The Liberal National Party removed the waste levy when it was last in power.
It’s Deputy Leader, Tim Mander, said the party remained against the arrangement.
“Why should the people in Wide Bay for example have to pay for a problem in Ipswich?” he said.
The LNP has not said whether it would scrap the levy again if it takes government.
The committee is due to report back by October 22, with the levy expected to take effect from March next year.