Our rubbish set to power the State
AT LEAST five new power stations would be built across Queensland within the next 10 years, fuelled solely by rubbish, under a plan to use the state's new waste tax to reduce landfill and shore up electricity supply.
The Sunday Mail can reveal at least three of those power stations would be built in the southeast, one in central Queensland and one in north Queensland under the proposal being mooted by councils to the State Government.
It comes amid the release today of a major waste to energy study commissioned by the Local Government Association of Queensland which found the technology - already used across the globe - was viable in Queensland and affordable.
"There is no doubt that energy from waste is rapidly being recognised within the state as an opportunity to not only address the issues relating to waste management but also the growing challenges for the energy industry, including local supply and distribution," the report says.
LGAQ chief executive officer Greg Hallam said councils wanted the power stations to be rolled out across the state by 2028 well before the 2050 timeline initially mooted by the state for a zero waste strategy to be put in place.
Up to 10 power stations could be built all up by 2028, depending on the size and scale, Mr Hallam said as part of a $2.5 billion investment over 10 years.
The LGAQ also commissioned focus groups and polling on the issue with three-quarters of Queenslanders surveyed about the waste to energy power plant plan indicating they backed it.
About 90 per cent also indicated they believed 100 per cent of the cash raised from the new waste levy - estimated to be at least $200 million a year - should be put directly back into the zero waste strategy.
It found only moderate support for the waste levy in general, however, at 43 per cent.
Treasurer Jackie Trad announced last week that the levy would initially be set at $70 a tonne but would rise to $90 a tonne over four years.
The Government has indicated not all the money raised from the levy - expected to begin on January 1 - will go towards the zero waste strategy with some also to be funnelled into Treasury's coffers.
Councils want this to change.
"This study has proved at the broadscale level, using the most recent global experience, that it is possible for Queensland to have a zero waste, waste to energy future that is financially viable if it is supported by the waste levy," Mr Hallam said.
"If they (the state) are really serious about their commitment to a zero waste future, the levy will fund it."
Mr Hallam said a series of more detailed regional studies would now be done to back up the plan.