The Queensland government recently announced funding to assist farmers and landholders with the cost of removing and safely disposing of illegally dumped waste. Farmers can now apply for grants of up to $50,000 through the Illegal Dumping Grant Program to remove illegally dumped and hazardous waste from their land. It's welcome news for the state's agriculture sector, which has often found itself bearing the burden of illegally dumped waste.
Australia's waste is growing at over double the rate of its population. With 76 million tonnes generated each year, we ranked as the 24th biggest waste producer in the 2019 Global Waste Index. While Queensland's agricultural sector has an established history of managing its waste streams effectively, illegal dumping on public and private land has caused ongoing issues for landholders. The problem has only grown since a waste levy was introduced in Queensland in 2019 and has not abated as the levy continues to rise. Farmland provides opportunities for unscrupulous operators to avoid landfill fees and the levy by illegally dumping waste. This leaves farmers to not only pay for the clean-up costs and any remediation where contaminants have escaped but also the disposal costs, including the levy in the prescribed local government areas. The Illegal Dumping Grant Program is open now and will close on February 18. Impacted farmers are encouraged to apply for funding to assist with these outlays and restore affected land.
While most local governments provide ongoing reporting of the illegal dumping in their area, this does not typically include the wastes illegally deposited on private land. As a result, the full extent of the issue and its costs including financial, social and environmental are unable to be quantified and treated with commensurate concern. QFF is therefore calling for the establishment of a database where landholders can document incidents of illegal dumping on their land. Steeper penalties and deterrents for those businesses engaged in the illegal dumping of wastes are also needed. Queensland farmers should not be the victims of illegally dumped waste.
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