Last week the Waste Reduction and Recycling Bill 2011 including a land fill levy was passed by the Qld State Parliament. The aim is to halve the amount of rubbish directed to landfill within a decade. After a slow start due to floods & a cyclone, the levy will kick in on 1 December 2011.
Qld has lagged behind NSW & Vic in introducing a Land Fill Levy on non-recycled commercial waste. Municipal domestic waste is exempt from the levy, adding a layer of complexity & an administrative nightmare. The waste levy will discourage waste generators in the southern states to cross the border to dump their waste in Qld. However, there still may be perverse incentives to export waste overseas.
Qld generates about 32m tonnes of waste every year. Materials that are recovered, reused or recycled won’t attract the levy. The wastes generated from recycling will still attract the levy but at a discounted rate. The majority of funds raised from the levy will feed directly into the four year $159m Waste Avoidance and Resource Efficiency fund to help companies avoid producing waste, sort their waste & recycle it.
Councils throughout Qld will this year receive an $11m boost for waste management facilities, following earlier assistance totaling $4.1m to help establish or improve infrastructure such as weighbridges and fences at landfills. Councils will also benefit from the $100m Sustainable Futures Fund to help them better manage waste.
New programs will:
· encourage recycling of organic waste
· a renewed litter prevention program will commence to catch and prosecute illegal dumpers.
Qld’s waste levy will commence at $35/t for Commercial & Industrial (C&I) and Construction and Demolition (C&D) wastes. There is a brief levy FAQ on the DERM website.
The environmental approvals system has been overhauled by legislation introduced into Qld State Parliament this week. The amendments to the Environmental Protection Act aim to increase the efficiency of the environmental approvals system & cut green tape.
ASBG has been campaigning for the reduction of unnecessary regulatory burdens, such as the time wasted in lengthy application processes & onerous reporting.
The introduction of standard applications aims to reduce costs & increase certainty in application processes for low environmental risk operations. The new regulations will corporate licensees to manage their environmental authorities for multiple sites in an integrated way. The reforms will simplify the relationship between environmental licenses & development permits meaning an operator will only need to pay for their annual fees once their development permit is approved.
It would be prudent for businesses to review the Department of Environment & Resource Management (DERM) regulatory compliance program. The Annual Compliance Plan 2011–12 sets out proactive and planned compliance priorities in some of the following areas:
· Energy resources, including minerals & minerals and mining, coal seam gas/liquefied natural gas, underground coal gasification
While the compliance plan provides an overview of DERM’s strategic compliance priorities; it does not represent all compliance activity to be undertaken in 2011–12.
The Qld State Government & TRUenergy have announced a multi-billion investment in two new gas fired power stations in Ipswich and in Gladstone, powered with gas from the Qld's south west gas fields.
The Qld State Government is still claiming gas power stations will emit up to 50% less CO2 than a coal-fired station, as if this acceptable.
TRUenergy have commenced the development application process for the two high-efficiency gas-fired power stations. The proposed power stations will be developed in stages with the initial units sized at around 500MW & have a total capacity of up to 1500MW each depending on energy demands.
The Ipswich Power Station will be located within an industrial park, near the existing Swanbank B coal fired power station which will close in April 2012. The Aldoga Power Station, will be located in the Gladstone State Development Area on land already zoned for heavy industrial use.
The permitting process will occur over the next 12 months. Subject to the receipt of all permitting & development approvals, construction could begin as early as 2013. Each power station will involve investment of approximately $1.8b.
Paul Hawken is in Australia over the next 2 weeks for a number of public & private events. There are seats still available at 3 public events in NSW and QLD. There are also places available at the Sustainability Leadership Masterclass events in Sydney & Melbourne aimed more at business/government/NGO's.