Environment and Sustainability, Freight Rail

Trash trains investigation opens to submissions

The independent investigation into the cross-border transportation of waste into Queensland via road and rail has been opened for public submissions.

Former Supreme Court judge Peter Lyons will lead the investigation, which was triggered by an ABC Four Corners investigation earlier this year.

The story, which aired in August, detailed the sending of waste – on trucks and trains – from NSW to Queensland, so operators could avoid a $138 per tonne NSW landfill levy.

Industry is estimating the trade to have reached roughly a million tonnes a year, with interstate operators reportedly dumping waste in disused mine sites.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk immediately ordered the independent investigation, but noted that 6000 people are employed in Queensland’s waste transfer and recycling sectors.

Now environmental minister Steven Miles is encouraging industry participants to speak up.

“I encourage all transport, waste and recycling facility operators in New South Wales and South East Queensland to provide written submissions to this investigation,” Miles said.

Submissions close on September 26.

“The investigation will look at the incentives for movement of waste from other states, and how to prevent this from happening,” the minister continued.

“It will also consider whether there’s a need for regulatory reform – and examine the role of other states and the Commonwealth. While this is not a regulatory or criminal investigation, it is expected that any unlawful activity it uncovers will be referred to the appropriate Queensland or interstate authorities.”

An interim report will be provided to the Government by 18 October 2017, with a final report due by 17 November 2017.

Submissions can be made at www.qldwasteinvestigation.com.au.


  1. Can’t see where the problem is. If the Qld charges for dumping rubbish are less than the NSW charges any operators in their right minds would do their sums and work out if it’s cheaper to send it interstate.
    The solution from the Qld govt would be to make their charges higher if they don’t want the (apparently inferior) NSW rubbish to come across the border.

  2. For a long time, Qld has had lower vehicle registration charges, so many NSW vehicles are registered in Qld using friends/relatives addresses. Qld government doesn’t complain about collecting extra money from NSW when they don’t have to provide much in return for it…