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Powell Media Release – Stop your rubbish, Kate (10 June 2011)

LABOR has wasted a golden opportunity to ease mounting concerns in the residential aged care sector over the looming Industry Waste Levy, the LNP said today.

LNP environment spokesman Andrew Powell said Environment Minister Kate Jones had misled councils and the waste industry that all domestic waste would be exempt from Labor’s new waste disposal levy.

“The original support from mayors for the levy was contingent upon domestic waste being exempt,” Mr Powell said.

“Support was also contingent on funds raised by the levy being used for waste reduction strategies, but Labor and Kate Jones have thrown that promise out the window too.”

Mr Powell said the LNP could not support Labor’s waste levy because it now had little to do waste reduction, but everything to do with a broke government gouging every sector, including aged care, for more cash.

Mr Powell said the levy, set for introduction in December, could raise waste charges for residential aged care operators by at least 35 per cent.

“These are facilities that use commercial waste removalists to dispose of domestic-grade waste. The government knows what the situation is,” Mr Powell said.

“This is just another example of Labor’s desperate grab for cash from everyone and anywhere, including residential aged-care, a sector that’s already struggling with soaring power and water bills.

“Right from the outset, Bligh and Minister Jones’ tactics have been to keep industry guessing about whether they’re in or out. The introduction date has already been set back several months because Labor can’t get its act together.”

Mr Powell said the residential aged-care sector deserved a straight answer on whether their ‘domestic-grade’ waste was going to be exempt from the levy, as it should be.

“These operators provide critical support and care for frail and aged Queenslanders. The cost of care will definitely rise if waste generated at these facilities is classed as ‘commercial waste’ and slugged by the Labor levy.

“The Minister needs to exempt residential aged-care providers from the new waste levy. A clear, unequivocal, exemption is well overdue.”

Mr Powell reiterated the LNP’s commitment to a waste reduction strategy that didn’t penalise the resident aged-care sector or the people they support.  

“A CanDo LNP Government will work with waste generators to implement industry-driven reduction solutions. Queenslanders will power Queensland again, not politics.”   

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