The Rees Government’s commitment ‘to its key environmental and climate change initiatives in this week’s mini budget’ means an increased waste levy for North Coast residents from next year.

The levy is paid when waste is put into landfills by commercial operators or when local government disposes of household waste.

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Climate Change and the Environment Carmel Tebbutt said the City & Country Environment Restoration Program would be enhanced through an increase in the Waste and Environment Levy.

“We are determined to help NSW families and local communities and business adjust to climate change, minimise future increases in electricity bills and play their part in protecting the environment,” said Ms Tebbutt.

“This scheme has delivered new marine parks, expanded council waste services, a stronger Environmental Trust grants scheme and $105 million to buy back water for the environment.

“The program will continue for an additional five years and will be funded through an increase in the Waste and Environment Levy which is paid when waste is put into landfills by commercial operators or when local government disposes of household waste.

“The levy has already helped to drive innovation in greener waste technology, putting NSW at the top of the recycling tree, with six advanced waste treatment facilities in operation and seven more in the pipeline.

“It is also a proven means of driving down the amount of waste sent to landfill and increased the amount of resources rescued from the waste stream and reused.

“There will be a $3 increase per tonne per year on the previously announced $7 increase. This will bring the overall total increase to $10 per tonne per year (plus CPI) in the Greater Sydney region from 1 July 2009.

“The waste levy will also be phased in on the North Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollondilly areas where it will start at $10 in 2009/10 and increase by $10 (plus CPI) each year until it is equal with the levy elsewhere.

“The Rees Government will continue to ensure that Local Government waste performance payments and other local government funding programs are protected and enhanced.

“Coal mining waste will also attract a levy of $15 per tonne from November 2009, unless the waste is reused as part of an approved environmental rehabilitation program.

“The NSW Government remains committed to helping the community to play its part in preserving the State’s environment and quality of life.”