Waste industry worth millions to city: Report

IPSWICH'S waste industry provides 788 jobs, pays almost 2% of the total rates collected by the council, and contributes $74.7m to the local economy.

The figures comes from a new report by peak body Waste Recycling Industry Queensland (WRIQ), as the city's 12 major waste operators try to weather a storm of negativity surrounding Ipswich projects.

More than half of all Queensland's waste, 5,155,954 tonnes, is brought to Ipswich each year to be processed and sent to landfill.

The city is littered with former coal mining voids, making it attractive to companies searching for landfill sites.

According to the WRIQ report, the incoming waste creates 428 direct jobs for Ipswich residents, paying a total of $25m in salaries each year.

WRIQ's CEO Rick Ralph said the industry was ready and willing to continue investing in Ipswich but the recent tension surrounding the establishment of new facilities had made that difficult.

Mr Ralph was horrified to learn Ipswich City Council had decided to send all its recycling waste to landfill after negotiations with its contractor broke down in April.

Ipswich council says it has since signed a new contract.

Rick Ralph, CEO of Waste Recycling Industry Queensland
Rick Ralph, CEO of Waste Recycling Industry Queensland

"We are committed to recycling and to investing in the industry to minimise the amount of waste going to landfill while maximising recycling," Mr Ralph said. "This is an opportunity for Ipswich to benefit from investment, which would create long-term jobs, and to make the city a leader in resource recovery."

The council has also redefined what goes into the yellow top bins, in an attempt to reduce contamination rates, and appealed to the industry to help solve its waste woes.

Mr Ralph said that was a challenge his organisation was prepared to take up, but there needed to be room for growth and expansion.

"Industry needs to be able to respond to challenges and freely invest in new technologies," Mr Ralph said.

One application from Austin BMI Pty Ltd to establish a large landfill at New Chum sparked concern from residents.

Cleanaway is also preparing to lodge an application for a "redesign and rehabilitation" project, although the company has declined to release any details to the QT on the proposal.

Another company, Bio-Recycle, is fighting a council decision in court, after an application to double the amount of waste being brought into its Swanbank facility was rejected.

Waste operators' level of compliance with environmental and council conditions has also been flagged as a major issue by environmental group Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments.

By the numbers

Ipswich

  • 428 direct jobs
  • $25m in salaries
  • $74.7m to the economy
  • $130.9m worth of investments
  • $3.2m in council rates
  • 373m in assets

Queensland

  • 842 businesses
  • 9.8m tonnes of waste processed
  • 4.4m tonnes recycled
  • 6432 jobs
  • $830m to the economy
  • 1530 collection vehicles