$2.1 billion package to deliver a Queensland recycling revolution

Published Saturday, 11 December, 2021 at 09:26 AM

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs
The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon


The Palaszczuk Government is fast-tracking Queensland’s transition to a zero-waste society through a new $2.1 billion waste package, including a $1.1 billion Recycling and Jobs Fund.


Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the fund will support increased household recycling, help build new resource recovery infrastructure, and create more jobs in more industries.


“This is the largest investment in waste management and recycling in Queensland’s history,” Minister Scanlon said.


“It will accelerate job growth in the regions, build new recycling and remanufacturing infrastructure across Queensland and better protect our parks, waterways and the Great Barrier Reef from plastic pollution.


“The package also includes $1 billion in municipal solid waste (MSW) rebates for councils to continue offsetting the cost of the waste levy on household bins. This is a phased, sustainable 10-year transition to help households reduce their waste and increase recycling.


“We commenced the scheme in 2019 and remain the only state in Australia to provide this rebate.


“We have set ambitious targets for recycling because we want to see 80 per cent of all waste streams diverted from landfill by 2030.


“Our recovery rate currently sits at 54 per cent, so the next decade will be critical to our success.


“Queensland’s recycling and resource recovery industries contribute $1.5 billion to the state economy each year and already support almost 12,000 jobs.


“We want to see even more jobs for Queenslanders and the $1.1 billion Recycling and Jobs Fund sends a strong signal that Queensland welcomes investment in innovative, job-creating businesses.


Minister Scanlon said the fund will offer co-investment opportunities for councils and industry to leverage this new money to help transform Queensland’s approach to waste management and resource recovery.


“The Government will invest in waste avoidance and behaviour change initiatives, recycling and remanufacturing facilities, collection infrastructure such as green bins, organics processing and other initiatives to unlock jobs in recycling and reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill,” Minister Scanlon said.


“We know we need ambitious targets and as the largest package of its type in Australia, we want to set the benchmark and are committed to achieving all the benefits that Queenslanders expect to see from our resource recovery industry.”


The massive funding injection follows a review of existing waste levy arrangements.


“The Queensland Government has been consulting with the Local Government Association of Queensland and the Council of Mayors (South East Queensland) to determine a pathway that both protects households while also increasing recycling rates and reducing the amount of waste going into landfill,” Minister Scanlon said.


“This pathway includes a commitment to continue the advance payments to councils at 105 per cent for another financial year before those payments begin to taper as industry gears up to help Queenslanders divert more rubbish away from the red lid bin.


“The advance payments will taper off over 10 years, reducing to a final 20 per cent in ongoing payments to cover rubbish that we expect will still have to go to landfill.


“As the funding tapers off, councils will also be given access to other funding streams to help foster new waste industries in their local communities through the Recycling and Jobs Fund.


The Fund is designed to maximise co-investment from industry, local councils and the Commonwealth, and will deliver strategic investment in diverse and innovative resource recovery technologies and markets to generate lasting economic benefits for the state.


“The waste levy only applies to rubbish sent to landfill and by prioritising waste avoidance and resource recovery efforts, over time, we expect to see a permanent reduction in landfill disposal,” Minister Scanlon said.


“We know the levy works – since it was introduced, we have seen interstate waste decrease by more than 60 per cent and 75 per cent of construction and demolition waste being recycled.


“With the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in front of us, today’s announcement is the first step in ensuring we showcase Queensland as a clean and sustainable global destination.”


Future waste reforms will see: 


  1. $1.1 billion Recycling and Jobs Fund to be invested over the next 10 years
  2. $1 billion in annual MSW rebate which is broken down as follows:
    • Annual Payments to councils will remain at 105% in 2022-23
    • From 1 July 2023, annual payments will gradually taper from 105% to 20% over 10 years for 19 councils (metro zone councils and seven of the largest regional zone councils).
    • Annual payments will be maintained at 100% for the remaining eligible councils.
  3. From 2022-23, an increase in the annual levy rate by $10 per tonne in 12 Southeast Queensland council areas until 2027–28, then in line with CPI, ensuring it is comparable to NSW to maintain disincentives to interstate waste dumping.
  4. From 2022-23, an increase in the annual levy rate by CPI in the remaining 27 regional council areas in the levy zone.
  5. 38 council areas currently outside the levy zone will remain outside the levy zone.
  6. Removing the Clean Earth exception in 2023-24, in line with arrangements in other states/territories.


Queensland’s Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy and levy arrangements will be reviewed again in 2025.


For more information: www.qld.gov.au/waste-disposal-levy