Waste levy a waste of good intentions: CCIQ
Queensland businesses will be forced to absorb a double whammy of the Carbon Tax and Waste Levy if the Waste Reduction and Recycling Bill 2011 is passed in its current form according to Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ).
CCIQ will appear before the Parliamentary Environment, Agriculture, Resources and Energy Committee’s Inquiry into the Waste Reduction and Recycling Bill 2011 at 9.15am this morning to oppose the Bill.
CCIQ General Manager, Nick Behrens said the majority of SMEs will suffer under the burden of a waste levy.
“We know that many businesses do not have the capacity to absorb additional waste costs and are not in a position to pass costs on to their customers due to very poor consumer sentiment at present. This levy will add a substantial cost increase on current waste expenses for businesses that will threaten jobs and viability,” Mr Behrens said.
“Starting with a $35 per tonne costs for Commercial and Industrial (C&I) and Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste, and $50-100 per tonne for hazardous waste is too high too soon.
“Regional economies that have SMEs as their back-bone will be squeezed even harder because cash-strapped Councils are yet to provide recycling infrastructure leaving no option but being hit with a $35 per tonne tax.
“Lessons learnt in NSW and Victoria show that introducing a lower transitionary price allows industry to build up to target price and meet the objective of the policy more effectively.”
Mr Behrens said excluding households from the levy also made no sense as they are in fact the largest contributors to landfills.
“From the most recent data, the National Waste Report indicates C&I contributed only 26 per cent to waste sent to landfill – with households representing a massive 40 per cent,” he said.
“On top of this, C&I waste appears to have stabilised with a 2-3 per cent reduction over the past three years compared to a 40 per cent increase in house hold waste.
“The Bill should reflect this and at least share the burden of the levy between business and households instead of leaving the drivers of the economy to carry to whole burden.”
Mr Behrens said the Bill had little consideration of the implications of the Carbon Tax and risked creating a double-ripple effect across the Queensland economy.
“The waste levy policy indicates little consideration of the carbon tax, and as such does not accurately reflect the true impact of having two simultaneous policies hitting business,” he said.
“The waste industry indicates the waste levy and carbon tax in tandem will increase C&I waste charges by 200 per cent and C&D waste by 300 per cent.
“Although the policy objective has merit, the methodology to achieve this is flawed if both policies exist in separate policy silos – only to collide when business needs to pay for both of them.”
Founded in 1868, Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland is the peak association for the state’s employers across every industry. It provides support, advice, training and advocacy for more than 25,000 businesses.