LGAQ calls for better funding for waste infrastructure

LOCAL councils in Queensland are calling for better funding for public infrastructure ahead of the upcoming state elections, including $6 million for waste and recycling initiatives.

Jacqueline Ong

The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) released its 10-point Policy Plan last week, which identifies the highest priority investment opportunities for the state in the local government sector.

Promoting innovation and harnessing technology at the local level is one of LGAQ's priorities, which includes the management of waste as a key environment and public health matter in communities.

Citing the Australian Municipal Waste Management - Voice of the Customer Study, LGAQ said feedback indicates that cost is "by far the most mentioned challenge in delivering municipal waste services in Australia. Accordingly, waste minimisation, reuse, recovery and recycling are high on many council agendas."

Cost aside, LGAQ, still citing the study, said there are opportunities for local government, such as in waste to energy, which will likely experience "significant growth over the long term" as councils proactively seek to monetise waste.

In the short term, specific opportunities will revolve around retrofitting existing facilities with waste to energy technologies, the report said.

Thus, LGAQ is seeking state government financial support of $2 million per annum over the next three years, to be matched by councils.

The funding will be used to develop a Local Government Waste to Energy Implementation Program and other waste minimisation, reuse, recovery and recycling initiatives.

LGAQ president Margaret deWit said all parties and candidates contesting the next election should be aware of the crucial role that well-resourced local councils play in strengthening Queensland's economy.

"The state will reach its true economic potential only if there is genuine co-operation and collaboration between the state and local governments," she said.

"That is why our 10-point policy plan focuses on the value of greater investment and collaboration in areas like skills and workforce development, urban planning and innovation."

The LGAQ will now approach all parties to sign up to the 10-point policy plan before the election.