Gladstone leads the way for innovative waste management
Published Wednesday, 28 March, 2018 at 11:30 AM
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch
The Palaszczuk Government’s new waste strategy will help determine the best way forward for waste management in Gladstone, including diverting waste away from landfill and exploring more innovative ways to use waste.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said this was exactly what Northern Oil’s Advanced Biofuels Pilot Plant was doing.
“It is great to see companies like Northern Oil finding innovative ways to convert waste – items, such as plastics, wood waste and tyres – into energy,” Ms Enoch said.
“This builds on the Palaszczuk Government’s push to invest in industry and explore more opportunities for how to manage waste in the long term, which also helps create more jobs.
“It is estimated that less than 3 jobs are supported for every 10,000 tonnes of waste that goes to landfill. But if that same waste was recycled, that would support more than 9 jobs, and that is what we need to build on.
“Last financial year, 33,653 tonnes of waste went into landfill in Gladstone, so the region could have had 18 more jobs in a single year if we made better use of that waste.”
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said Queensland used to have a waste levy, but it was recklessly scrapped by the former LNP Government in 2012.
“Not only did this make Queensland a cheap place to dump, it robbed us of the opportunity to invest in the recycling industry and create new jobs,” Mr Butcher said.
“If the levy hadn’t been scrapped, we would have been able to invest in new industry and create new jobs right across Queensland.”
Northern Oil Renewable Products General Manager Ben Tabulo said there was no doubt that a waste levy was needed in Queensland.
“This state can do better than continuing to throw domestic and industrial waste into landfill,” Mr Tabulo said.
“That approach is outdated, old fashioned and is not sustainable both environmentally and economically. Redirecting and reusing waste streams such as mining and passenger tyres, plastic, green and municipal waste offers a genuine opportunity to expand existing resource recovery industries as well as create new ones.
“Earlier this month we announced that we had produced 100 per cent drop in diesel from four different waste streams. This isn’t pie in the sky stuff.
“A considered waste levy will accelerate investment in the conversion of waste into fuel, energy and other products. Long time, I believe that the waste levy will be an enabler for lower energy costs in Queensland.”
Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett welcomed the Queensland Government measures to reduce waste and said the Gladstone Region stood ready to play a key role in the creation of renewable energy and recycled products.
“Gladstone Regional Council is already converting gas to energy via its award-winning Benaraby Landfill Gas-to-Power Project and has implemented the use of recycled glass for use in the construction of road base,” Councillor Burnett said.
“Council is investigating a number of ways in which waste items can be converted into renewable energy and Minister Enoch’s announcement complements our efforts to boost the local economy and promote job growth via renewable energy projects.”
Ms Enoch said since the LNP scrapped the waste levy, more than 2.3 million tonnes of waste had come into Queensland from other states.
“That’s the equivalent of more than 200 trucks coming across the border every week since 2012. If we lined up all those trucks, they would stretch all the way from the New South Wales border to Cairns,” Ms Enoch said.
Ms Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was acting on the recommendations of a final report following an independent investigation into the transport of interstate waste in to Queensland, led by former Supreme Court Justice Peter Lyons.
“I want to assure Queenslanders that while our new waste strategy does include a waste levy, as recommended by Justice Lyons, we have made a commitment that the levy will not be passed onto Queensland households.
“Our waste Stakeholder Advisory Group is currently working through that and will determine the best way forward with a levy, while ensuring it has no impact on families.”
The Stakeholder Advisory Group will continue to regularly meet over the next few months and details of the levy will form part of the Budget process.
For more details, including the final report into the transport of interstate waste, visit https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/waste/qld-waste-strategy.html
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