A bull dozer
  1. As the face of waste management changes, the State Government will continue to identify both short- and long-term issues. The Review of the Waste Levy – Consultation Paper (Levy Consultation) is intended to provide a broad overview of the waste levy strategic decisions, and to canvas for insights into the future.
  2. The Levy Consultation seeks feedback on a number of issues including:

a) the extension of the waste levy to apply to regional areas in addition to metropolitan areas;

b) whether increasing the waste levy incentivises waste facilities to investigate recycling and diversion opportunities rather than landfilling the material; and

c) amending the waste levy in a way which balances the need to be responsible to changed circumstances and technology, whilst also giving waste managers a level of certainty around the levy to enable them to make strategic waste management decisions.

  1. The Levy Consultation suggests that a levy on waste generated in regional areas may provide a financial incentive that may result in increased recovery. Implicit in this is the suggestion that waste which is generated in regional areas is also processed, re-used and recycled in regional areas. The effect of this would be to reduce transport costs and to allow waste to be recovered and reused locally. However, in evaluating this option it is also necessary to consider whether this would be worthwhile as landfill volumes and recycling opportunities are relatively small in regional areas and additional levy revenue would be modest.
  2. Further, applying the levy to regional areas would address the Government’s concerns that some operators are avoiding payment of the waste levy by transporting waste from metropolitan areas to regional areas.
  3. In relation to the proposal to increase the waste levy fees, the Levy Consultation notes that this may not lead to an uptake of recycling and waste diversion opportunities, if these options are not financially attractive. Increasing the waste levy may therefore have unintended consequences, such as creating an incentive for stockpiling the waste or inappropriate disposal of the waste to avoid paying the levy. The Levy Consultation seeks feedback from waste facility operators on whether recycling and waste diversion opportunities would become more viable if the waste levy was applied in a different way.
  4. The Levy Consultation also requests feedback from waste facility operators how decisions about managing waste or related investments would be impacted if it was known how the waste levy would be varied into the future. The Levy Consultation notes the need to balance responsiveness to emerging knowledge about best practice waste management with the benefits of providing waste facility operators with confidence about future waste levy rates. Feedback is sought on how to achieve this balance.
  5. The consultation can be viewed here: https://www.dwer.wa.gov.au/consultation/waste-reform-consultation and submissions must be made by 15 May 2020.
  6. If you require assistance in making a submission on this consultation, please contact us at admin@glenmcleodlegal.com