Rubbish triggers state of origin battle

TRASH TALK: Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is talking tough about stopping interstate rubbish being dumped on the Gold Coast.
TRASH TALK: Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate is talking tough about stopping interstate rubbish being dumped on the Gold Coast. Scott Davis

HE'S going to stop the flow over the border and if necessary he'll build a wall.

No, it's not Donald Trump getting tough with Mexican illegal immigrants, it's Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate trash talking NSW and Victorian companies that dump rubbish in local tips.

Thousands of tonnes of rubbish from as far south as Melbourne is being trucked to the Gold Coast by commercial operators because dumping fees are cheaper in Queensland.

The Gold Coast City Council has resolved to stop the flow, mostly from Northern NSW, which is shortening the lifespan of the city's dumps.

Cr Tate told the Gold Coast Bulletin he has even borrowed one of Mr Trump's catch cries, joking: "Build a wall and make 'em pay for it."

The mayor said banning "foreign" waste would add 10 years to Gold Coast dumps' lives.

"The cost of our waste management has gone up and the need for our dumps has gone up and it is for locals first," he said.

"With New South Wales to keep dumping on the Gold Coast, we will bring that to an end and give them plenty of time to look elsewhere."

Any solution is unlikely to include fees for fear of making the dumps too expensive for Gold Coast ratepayers.

The Gold Coast City Council charges $96.90 per tonne for mixed commercial waste while Grafton Waste Transfer Facility charges more than double at $195 per tonne.

Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of New South Wales executive director Tony Khoury said between 6500 and 7000 tonnes of garbage was transported from Sydney to south-east Queensland every week.

The influx of rubbish began in earnest in 2012 when the former LNP government scrapped a waste levy making Queensland the cheaper option for commercial operators to dump their waste.

"This really is a problem for the Queensland State Government to resolve," Mr Khoury said.

Gold Coast and Hinterland Environmental Council advocate Lois Levy said they had a huge number of environmental concerns about the waste being moved to the Gold Coast.

"No one really knows what they are bringing in and they could be dumping hazardous materials," she said.

Environment Minister Steven Miles said the Queensland Government was developing new laws to limit what can go into landfill.

"If introduced, landfill disposal bans would help reduce the amount of interstate waste into Queensland for disposal as the ban would apply to the type of waste and not where it was generated," Mr Miles said.

Topics:  editors picks rubbish waste