Farm waste costs $35 per tonne

FARMERS could be forced to dump rubbish illegally because of the new waste levy coming into affect next week, Southern Downs Regional Councillors fear.

Cr Ross Bartley said one of the most contentious points of the levy was the inclusion to charge farmers for agricultural waste.

"It could put rubbish collection back 100 years," he said.

The Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC) was initially told agricultural waste was exempt but later found that wasn't the case.

Cr Cameron Gow was concerned the levy would force farmers to dump their rubbish illegally - especially agricultural plastic which could not be recycled - to avoid paying the $35/tonne fee.

"The amount of waste generated by tomatoes and capsicums, we talking semi-trailer loads," he said.

"It's a disincentive to bring the waste to landfill. You are turning growers into criminals."

Cr Bellingham agreed there was a significant risk.

"I am concerned about the amount of waste it will generate," Cr Bellingham said.

"In the north end (of the Southern Downs) I think there will be significant problems caused by that decision and the big impact will be here at the Granite Belt.

"We are told to put a levy on the capacity of the truck, not what is on the truck.

"Now that is crazy stuff and I wonder if the person who dreamed up that is living in the real world."

Despite their opposition to agricultural waste being included in the levy, councillors passed a recommendation to amend the fees to include farm and agricultural waste.

The council will write to the State Government to voice its dismay about the handling of the levy implementation.

 

LEVY FACTS

  • Waste will be charged at $35/tonne
  • The levy takes effect from Thursday.
  • Recycling is free
  • The levy is a Queensland Government initiative.
  • Churches and some other organisations can apply for exemptions

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