News in brief
Browse our news stories about the activities and achievements of Queensland local councils and learn more about the challenges and issues affecting local government and their communities.
Many of these stories are published in our weekly enewsletter Council Courier. If you would like to know more about these stories please contact the LGAQ media and communications team on 1300 542 700.
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Cash for cans and bottles scheme next year
Queensland will see the introduction of a “cash for cans” scheme and a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags after a Waste Reduction amendment Bill was passed in Queensland Parliament this week.
The Waste Reduction and Recycling Amendment Bill 2017 was passed unopposed with bipartisan support on Tuesday night with the changes to come into effect on 1 July 2018.
The LGAQ was acknowledged in the parliamentary proceedings for its involvement as a member of the Container Refund Scheme Ministerial Advisory Group and for its engagement with key industry stakeholders.
Member for Moggil and Shadow Minister for the Environment and Heritage Protection Dr Christian Rowan referenced the LGAQ and other organisations for their efforts towards creating a blueprint for an effective recycling scheme,
“These aforementioned organisations should be thanked for working together to assist in designing an effective scheme which provides the opportunity for community and social groups to participate in the state’s recycling efforts. “Dr Rowan said.
Member for Gregory Lachlan Miller made special reference to western Queensland and the impacts and costs the bill amendments would put on council budgets in the region. Mr Lachlan said that whilst the LNP supports the scheme the party had some concerns about associated costs,
“The problem in Western Queensland—and the Local Government Association of Queensland would be well aware of this—is to have someone fulfil the requirements under this legislation in places like the Boulia Shire Council, the Diamantina Shire Council, the Winton Shire Council or the Longreach Regional Council will result in a financial impost on those councils. Councils out there can ill afford to spend more money and more money on.” Mr Miller said.
During the parliamentary debate Environment Minister Steven Miles acknowledged the need for funding to support the implementation of the container refund scheme,
“The government, through the environment department, will consult the Local Government Association of Queensland…on how to best target the small-scale grants the government is funding in association with the container refund scheme.” Mr Miles said.
“It is intended that small communities in remote and regional Queensland will be provided with financial support.”
“The consultation process will ensure that best use is made of the over $500,000 that will be available for the grants.”
Queenslanders use around one billion single-use plastic bags each year and the average family collects about 60 each week. According to the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland, 16 million of these bags are littered and easily picked up by the wind, allowing them to escape landfill.
In its submission, the LGAQ emphasised the costs incurred by councils in managing windblown litter, plastic bag contamination in recycling bins and costly stormwater network blockages.
“The introduction of a ban on single-use plastic bags will assist councils to reduce lightweight plastic bag litter in public places and waterways.” The submission said.
You can read the full proceedings on the bill here http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/documents/hansard/2017/2017_09_05_DAILY.pdf