Saturday, May 25, 2024

10-Council waste plan backed by Queensland Govt

Ten local councils in Queensland’s north-west have developed an ambitious new regional waste and resource recovery management plan which aims to guide future service delivery and investment.

The Queensland Government recently announced $7 million in funding to employ regional waste management plan coordinators across Queensland, including in the north-west, to assist in the implementation of regional waste and resource recovery strategies and improve environmental and economic outcomes for regions.

The 10 participating councils are Burke, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Croydon, Etheridge, Flinders, McKinlay, Richmond, Mt Isa City and Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council (DASC).

The councils say they are committed to overcoming local challenges like rapidly diminishing landfill capacity, legacy waste management issues, lack of regional processing capacity and minimal current diversion from landfill.

Queensland’s north-west is home to around 30,000 people across 380,000 square kilometres or around 20% of Queensland’s landmass.

“North-West Queensland is a vast area and collaboration on waste management and resource recovery was a challenging task without a blueprint for the way forward,” said NWQROC Chair and Carpentaria Shire Mayor, Jack Bawden.

“The funding provided to the NWQROC by the Queensland Government has now resulted in the development of a Plan which comprehensively lists the range of issues to be addressed.

“The stockpiles of tyres across the region present an opportunity for a coordinated approach to recovery, reprocessing and reuse along with the other legacy wastes of concrete, green and wood waste.

“We are now keen to get on with the task of taking our historical waste management practices to a new level.”

Initiatives identified in the plan include:

  • mapping abandoned vehicles and tendering for the removal of these vehicles and other scrap metal across the north-west;
  • food organics and garden organics (FOGO) collection services for more than 9,500 households in Mt Isa and Cloncurry, with home composting arrangements in other areas;
  • capping and closing 14 landfills and building new transfer stations, including remote access systems for unmanned sites;
  • determining legacy stockpile quantities and organising regional contract arrangements for tyres, concrete, green and wood waste;
  • opportunities for sharing equipment and mobile operations across Council boundaries around the North-West region.

The plan also identifies the investment needed in resource recovery infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions, including greater education and promotion of behaviour change activities for north west Queensland.

“Doomadgee has always had to deal with its waste in isolation given our location and the frequency with which we are cut off from our neighbours,” said Doomadgee Aboriginal Shire Council Chief Executive Officer, Troy Fraser.

“Now with the waste and resource recovery plan for the north-west we can work with our neighbours to better manage our necessary landfill activities and also be part of a region-wide approach to resource recovery and the development of a circular economy for the region.”

Queensland Minister for the Environment, Leanne Linard said the Government’s vision is for a zero-waste state by 2050, where waste is avoided, reused and recycled to the greatest extent possible.

“In recent months, thanks to funding from the Miles Government, regional organisations of Councils (ROCs) have come together to develop waste and resource recovery management plans to guide enhanced waste management and future investment in resource recovery infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions, including greater education and promotion of behaviour change activities,” she said.

“The plan developed by councils in the north-west is pragmatic and progressive in recognising the limitations and challenges in the north-west region while still striving to deliver world class outcomes.

“It will tackle legacy issues such as abandoned vehicles and scrap metal that can be found across these delicate landscapes and identifies opportunities to divert some organic material from landfill through FOGO and home composting.

“The councils have considered the significant structural and logistical difficulties involved, and the genuine collaboration between the councils has created a real blueprint for success.

“Resource recovery contributes to economic growth by fostering innovation, creating jobs, and reducing the costs of raw material acquisition.

“The Miles Government is committed to the sustainability of our regions, and this investment will help regional councils modernise their waste management facilities and practices,” said Ms Linard.

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