New strategy to guide investment in waste and resource recovery infrastructure

Date published: 24 February 2022

Townsville City Council has endorsed a new strategy to guide investment in waste and resource recovery infrastructure through to 2040.

Mayor Jenny Hill said waste was no longer viewed as rubbish to be discarded. Instead, it is now recognised as a valuable resource able to deliver economic and environmental benefits to the community.

“For years, the waste network has been focussed largely on waste management using landfills,” Cr Hill said.

“However, in recent years we have seen innovative solutions developed to divert waste away from landfill and instead using it to deliver economic growth and employment.

“As a result, we have seen waste management in Queensland change, with the waste disposal levy introduced by the Queensland Government providing a price signal to incentivise waste diversion from landfill.

“In Council’s 2021-2026 Corporate Plan, which was endorsed last year, we set ourselves the goal of establishing a circular economy that advances business and moves toward zero waste.

“Council’s new waste and resource recovery infrastructure plan is another key element in achieving that goal and will guide future investment in facilities, processes and approaches to resource recovery.”

The new plan has assessed the suitability of Townsville’s existing waste infrastructure, identified infrastructure requirements and resource recovery initiatives to sustainably support anticipated population growth and outline the levels of capital investment necessary in the future.

The plan focuses on improved management of waste, noting that the commercial and construction sectors also have a role to play in the industry.

Townsville City Council manages a waste network consisting of five transfer stations, the Stuart Landfill and the collection of kerbside waste and recycling across the region.

It manages over 370,000 tonnes of material each year, of which around 200,000 tonnes, or 54.5 per cent, is disposed to landfill. The remainder is recovered, reprocessed, or is utilised for on-site operational purposes.

Townsville Water and Waste Committee chairperson Russ Cook said the infrastructure plan identified the need to investigate a preferred site for a regional waste and resource recovery precinct to service the Townsville region.

“Such a precinct would be developed in stages and may include organics processing, resource recovery, and a centralised bulk transfer station that would service the majority of the Townsville region including the growing Northern Beaches corridor,” Cr Cook said.

“The Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan also identifies the significant opportunity to develop resource recovery infrastructure, particularly for processing of kerbside organics, construction and demolition, and dry commercial and industrial waste.

“There is significant opportunity to partner with the private sector to deliver engineered and environmentally responsible and sustainable resource recovery processes that make the best and highest value use of waste streams that typically flow through Council waste facilities.”

Cr Cook said the plan proposed an investment of around $11.2 million in waste and resource recovery infrastructure through to 2030 pending successful trials, business case development and approvals to proceed.

“Council will continue to engage the Queensland and Australian Governments to identify funding to support the implementation of the team,” he said.