Greg Fisher of South Mackay is concerned about his small business  with the introduction of a waste levy
Greg Fisher of South Mackay is concerned about his small business with the introduction of a waste levy Stuart Quinn

Mackay businessman shuts shop due to waste levy

GREG Fisher's bright magenta skip bin truck will soon be doing pick-ups in Mackay no longer, as the small business owner becomes the first victim of the state government's proposed waste levy.

Mr Fisher has chosen to shut up shop in preparation of the waste levy, in fear he will take a much harder hit once it is in effect.

"If they whack this extra levy, it's going to make it totally unaffordable for people or people with a commercial base to take it to the pit," he said.

"I will no longer be a small business owner... I've already started to shut shop.

"It's barely affordable for people to use my business, let alone when this comes in so I have to be proactive and wind down now and not wait and hope that the government will listen to us."

The state government's proposed waste disposal levy, which will come into effect in 2019, will begin at $70 per tonne of general waste to landfill, and cost as much as $150 per tonne for regulated waste- on top of rates already imposed by local councils. The levy is expected to increase by $5 a year for four years for general waste.

Mackay Regional Council charges between $148 and $117 per tonne to send general waste to landfill- higher than Townsville City Council's rates of about $90 per tonne and Rockhampton Regional Council's rates of $89-$145.

Mr Fisher warns more local waste industry operators will go under unless stakeholders and the council lobby the state government, labelling the levy a "blatant tax grab".

It comes as Mayor Greg Williamson revealed the council will put forth a motion at an upcoming Local Government Association of Queensland conference in October, expressing concern at the waste levy.

"The waste levy is certainly a concern, we have expressed that concern on a number of occasions now," he said.

"It might be alright for southeast Queensland to impose a waste levy, but for regional councils like ours... that waste levy is going to impact our ratepayers no doubt about that.

"We take on board Mr Fisher's concerns, we share those concerns, and we will be taking them up with the LGAQ."

Cr Williamson did not detail any specific plans to alleviate the waste levy's burden on ratepayers, but said the council was "always looking" for cost effective waste measures.

Mr Fisher doesn't blame the council for having some of the highest dump charges in Queensland, and said it was justifiable due to the city being on a flood plain and the cost involved in trucking waste further inland.

He said illegal dumping will likely become more prolific.

"People will then just dump it wherever they can.

"We don't want illegal dumping, we've got a beautiful city, but that's what's going to happen."

Mr Fisher's business is a franchise of Sunshine Coast-based business Aussie Skip Bags, which was launched in 2009. He has begun diversifying out of the waste business into tree-lopping.



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