Dump truck tracker says levy is rubbish's only rival

A THREE month investigation into into the transport of waste into Queensland will fix nothing until a high levy is put in place, according to Swanbank's chief rubbish truck tracker.

"Unofficial Swanbank mayor" Joe Llewellyn has been tallying up the number of trucks that use Swanbank Rd for 40 years.

Perched on his balcony with a pencil in hand, the 86-year-old counted 121 trucks blowing past his Raceview home in a half hour period.

It's traffic he says is coming from interstate and wants diverted elsewhere.

Joe Llewellyn keeps track of the trucks taking loads of rubbish to the dump at Swanbank.
Joe Llewellyn keeps track of the trucks taking loads of rubbish to the dump at Swanbank. Rob Williams

Mr Llewellyn said a state government investigation launched yesterday would be "pointless" unless the same levy was put on both New South Wales and Queensland waste management processes.

"They've got to put a levy on it otherwise they may as well forget about it. The only way they're going to do anything is if they put a levy on it," he said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the investigation would make clear "Queensland was not a free for all".

"I met with industry to discuss long term strategies to manage waste, and the investigation is an outcome of that meeting," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"I want to send a clear message to interstate waste generators and companies that Queensland is not a free for all.

"We need to better understand the actions of those who haul waste several hundred kilometres to Queensland, what responses we can make, and whether national action is required.

"This industry employs more than 6,000 people in Queensland and working on waste transfer and recycling within this state.

"Not only is interstate waste haulage unnecessary, it can be unsafe. We also need to question the potential cost to Queensland taxpayers and the environment."

Environment Minister Steven Miles said the government would continue its enforcement operations to stop illegal dumping in Queensland.

"The good operators want to see bad elements in their industry stamped out as much as we do and that's why they've been working with us," Mr Miles said.

Joe Llewellyn has been tallying up the number of trucks that use Swanbank Rd for 40 years.
Joe Llewellyn has been tallying up the number of trucks that use Swanbank Rd for 40 years. Emma Clarke

"The waste industry in Queensland is a big industry and in most cases does the right thing and employs many Queenslanders.

"An independent investigation is the best way to bring those in the industry who think it is alright to treat Queensland as a cheap dump into line with community expectations."

Officers from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) and Queensland Police Service (QPS) had been conducting a joint operation since Thursday to inspect heavy vehicles coming from NSW carrying waste.

"We have had officers on the ground blitzing interstate trucking to stop any waste transportation that is illegal," Mr Miles said.

"With the assistance of TMR trucks are being stopped at sites along the border and checked for their full compliance with waste laws and regulations.

"Of the 49 waste trucks inspected by EHP, 31 came from interstate, which is 63 per cent - demonstrating a high level of interstate activity in south-east Queensland.

"Further compliance checks will be carried out this week in the Ipswich area as part of Operation TORA."

An announcement on who will lead the investigation will be made in due course, with a report back to Government on the findings by mid-November.

The scope of the investigation will include:

Incentives for movement of waste from other states and how to prevent this from occurring

Illegal practices and possible breaches of regulations

Need for regulatory reform

The role of other states and the Commonwealth.

Topics:  ipswich dump swanbank waste management

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