A Queensland mayor is demanding an investigation after the NSW government’s chief waste regulator was caught joking about landfill being shipped across the border.
The ABC Four Corners program played a recording of NSW Environment Protection Authority waste management director Steve Beaman joking with waste industry figures: “We (NSW) take their mangoes, they (Queensland) can take our waste. So that’s the reality of it.”
Acting Ipswich Mayor Paul Tully says Mr Beaman must be stood aside pending an investigation in the wake of the Four Corners expose about the amount of waste being trucked to Queensland to avoid NSW’s hefty landfill levy.
“I think he should be stood down and a full investigation take place in regard to his attitude and his involvement in this industry,” Mr Tully has told ABC radio.
“It is absolutely despicable, disparaging Queensland and obviously endorsing these people to dump their waste in Queensland.”
Queensland’s former LNP government scrapped the state’s waste levy in 2012, describing it as a burden on the state’s businesses.
The Labor government has refused to reinstate the charge, even though many claim it would immediately fix the interstate dumping problem and despite the Environment Minister Steven Miles saying its abolition turned Queensland “into the nation’s dumping ground”.
The Four Corners investigation said transport companies brought more than 750,000 tonnes of waste into Queensland last year.
That compares with 10,000 tonnes of interstate rubbish in 2012.
The Queensland and NSW governments are at odds over who is to blame, and how to fix the problem.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has vowed again to speak to her NSW counterpart Gladys Berejiklian, and believes a national waste strategy is the way forward.
But Ms Berejiklian on Tuesday refused to answer questions about whether states should create a uniform national waste levy to avoid any financial incentive to ship waste around the country.