'Thieving': Government's waste tax divides businesses
THE levy touted as the fix to the millions of tonnes of interstate waste dumped in Queensland has been described as a "thieving" tax grab by a Gladstone small businessman.
In Gladstone to spruik the Queensland Government's controversial new waste levy, Environment and Great Barrier Reef Minister Leeanne Enoch said it would encourage more businesses like the Northern Oil Refinery where waste is turned into biofuel.
During her second visit to the Yarwun refinery this month, Ms Ennoch said it was "unacceptable" that Queensland - which was the only state without a waste levy - had turned into a dumping ground for other states.
She said since the waste levy was scrapped by the Liberal National Party in 2013, more than 2.3 million tonnes of waste was dumped in Queensland from other states.
The levy, which would place an additional charge per tonne at the dump, was supported by Northern Oil's Syn Bio general manager Ben Tabulo, who hoped it would boost recycling initiatives in Queensland.
Mr Tabulo said it would be an "enabler" for growth within the renewable industry.
But the move has been slammed as a threat to the survival of small business by the Opposition.
Gladstone Blue Bins owner Tony Soppa worried dump charges would increase to more than $200 per tonne with the levy.
"At the end of the day people will dump the rubbish along the road if it's going to cost more ... the roads will be full of rubbish," he said.
Mr Soppa said pre-2013 when Queensland had a waste levy his business was not impacted because it was reaping the benefits of Gladstone's industrial boom.
"We want to keep our prices the same but how will we be able to do that if the government is just going to add this levy?" he said.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the initiative would encourage companies to send their waste to Northern Oil instead of landfill. He said it would encourage more "waste to energy" businesses.
The former levy was set at $35 per tonne and while it has not been confirmed what the new levy will be, it is expected to be between $60-70 per tonne. The Opposition has warned the introduction of a waste levy would impact Queensland households. The State Government denied the claims and has said "there will be no wheelie bin tax".
Northern Oil donated $3850 to Queensland Labor's during the 2017 election.