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Councillors voice hidden tax fears

Gympie Region Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett surveys Gympie’s biggest new tax liability, the Bonnick Rd tip. Councillors were told state and federal charges would impact consumers and ratepayers.
Gympie Region Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett surveys Gympie’s biggest new tax liability, the Bonnick Rd tip. Councillors were told state and federal charges would impact consumers and ratepayers. Craig Warhurst

JULIA Gillard's carbon tax could combine disastrously with new State Government commercial waste levies to create a hidden new super-tax on all Queenslanders, Gympie Regional Council was told yesterday.

The council's community and economic development committee was told the new charges could cost up to $90 for every tonne of commercial waste dumped at landfill.

Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett said State Government charges on construction and other industrial waste would hit consumers, including councils, and these extra costs would have to be passed on to ratepayers.

The state charges also appeared to be designed for expansion, with specific provision for them to apply to residents dumping domestic garbage.

"It's in the legislation, but at the moment the charge on domestic rubbish is zero," he said, adding that this could be changed at the stroke of a pen.

The meeting was told that the state charges would initially apply to commercial rubbish, including construction waste and would add substantially to the cost of housing.

A carbon tax impact would combine with any state costs on council landfill practices to become a hidden tax, which councils would be forced to collect on behalf of the State and Federal Governments.

Councillors were also highly critical of their own lobby group, the Local Government Association, accusing it of failing to represent council views strongly enough.

The Federal Government carbon tax and the State Government waste levy (to be introduced from December 1) would have "a big impact on (the cost of) home construction", Mayor Ron Dyne told fellow councillors yesterday.

"They say they are trying to encourage construction and keep the economy running, but they keep knocking it back down," he said.

Cr Perrett said that while the state charges were designed to discourage consumers from dumping recyclable waste on landfill sites, Gympie residents were already achieving good results with recycling.

"They don't need to be taxed into doing something they are working on already," he said.

"It is one of the sneakiest pieces of legislation I've ever seen and the carbon tax will reinforce that.

"I haven't heard anything about any exemptions for local government and there is no benefit for us.

"It is a hidden tax we are required to collect."

Councillor Larry Friske said: "The poor worker in this country is being required to pay for the wastefulness of governments".

"I think it just highlights the desperation of the Australian and State Governments to raise money.

"They've wasted so much over the years, they've got to now punish the people who've been paying all along."

The meeting was told the state industry waste levy would begin on December 1, with the probability that carbon taxes could add "$40 to $50 a tonne" on top, to make a total hidden tax of "$80 to $90 a tonne."

Topics:  carbon tax gympie regional council state government

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