MRA welcomes Tas waste levy
By: Mike Ritchie, MRA Consulting Group
The Minister for Environment Roger Jaensch and the Government are to be congratulated on this move.
There is no doubt that recycling struggles against under-priced landfills. If we want more recycling, then we have to change the way we price landfills.
Landfills act like big vacuum cleaners. They suck in all waste streams including recyclables, indiscriminately. Only a price signal via a landfill levy creates the market price so that recyclers can compete.
And recycling generates 3 times more jobs than landfilling. So, if we want jobs we need to recycle more.
The announcement of a $20/t levy starting levy is welcomed. It gives the community time to adjust.
Increasing the levy to $60/t over 4 years is sensible and reflects the approach taken by QLD and other jurisdictions, of a stepwise increase.
Importantly the increase has already been announced, so that companies and infrastructure providers can budget and plan for it now. That will accelerate the construction of recycling facilities in Tasmania because companies can plan with certainty.
We also know that landfill owners have benefited from the levy in other States because they own much of the land on which recycling facilities can be easily approved.
A levy of $60/t will raise about $40m/year in Tasmania. We encourage the Government to hypothecate this money towards recycling infrastructure both public and privately owned.
MRA looks forward to working with the Government, councils and companies to accelerate Tasmania’s journey towards a circular economy.The decision to introduce a landfill levy will massively increase the likelihood of success.