What is the landfill levy?
The Municipal and Industrial Landfill Levy (MILL) is a hypothecated fund, collected by landfill operators under the Environment Protection Act 1970. It must be paid for each tonne of waste deposited at specific scheduled premises.
What is the purpose of the landfill levy?
The landfill levy was introduced as a price incentive to increase resource recovery and divert waste from landfill. The MILL funds some of our important environmental agencies, and initiatives that improve waste management or action on climate change.
Who pays the landfill levy?
The landfill levy is paid by licenced operators of scheduled premises (s 50S of the Act). This also includes scheduled premises for prescribed industrial waste (PIW). Operators pass on this cost through gate fees.
The following premises are not required to pay the landfill levy (s 50T of the Act):
- any privately-owned landfill that only receives its own waste
- any council-owned landfill that only receives municipal wastes for a population of less than 5000 (‘unlicensed landfills’).
How are landfill levy funds collected and managed?
Landfill owners must report quarterly and annually to the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) on the amount of waste received, which determines the levy payable. More information on this is available here: http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/business-and-industry/guidelines/landfills-guidance/landfill-and-prescribed-waste-levies
Each quarter, the Environment Protection Authority transfers landfill levy funds to MILL Trust Account, which is managed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). Money paid into this account is used for some of our most important government environmental agencies, including the EPA, Sustainability Victoria, Waste and Resource Recovery Groups, or any other public agency that works to protect the environment. Remaining funds are transferred to the Sustainability Fund Account, also managed by DELWP.
What is the Sustainability Fund and how is it distributed (and who decides)?
The Sustainability Fund comprises revenue from the MILL after disbursements are made to environment agencies including the Waste and Resource Recovery Groups. The Sustainability Fund may only be used to support resource efficiency or best practice waste management, or enable action on climate change (s 70F of the Act).
The Premier and the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change are jointly responsible for approving allocations from the Sustainability Fund to programs consistent with at least one of two legislated objectives. Funding must take into account government policy and the Sustainability Fund Priority Statement. A set of guidelines and statement of priorities must be in place before allocations can be made.
The Premier and Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change finalised a new Sustainability Fund Priority Statement in August 2016 after consulting with the Victorian community. The statement sets out our investment priorities in waste, resource recovery, sustainable use of resources, and climate change.
More information about the Sustainability Fund and how it is used can be found here: https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/sustainability/sustainability-fund.
How can I access funds from the Sustainability Fund?
The Sustainability Fund supports initiatives delivered by government departments and agencies such the Environment Protection Authority, Sustainability Victoria and Waste and Resource Recovery Groups. Many of these initiatives include targeted grants to community groups, local government, and industry.
Organisations seeking access to money from the Sustainability Fund can access existing grants programs. The Victorian Government website includes list of environmental grants programs: http://www.vic.gov.au/grants/environment.html.
Where can I find information about expenditure from and the balance of the Sustainability Fund?
DELWP has managed the MILL and Sustainability Fund accounts since 2015. This followed recommendations by the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Waste and Resource Recovery Governance Reform to streamline administration of the Sustainability Fund, and improve transparency of landfill levy expenditure. The DELWP Annual Reports publish information about cashflow into and out of these accounts, including grants, and the end of financial year balance: https://www2.delwp.vic.gov.au/our-department/reports.
How does the Victorian Government spend the landfill levy funds to support waste management across local governments?
The landfill levy directly supports improvements to the way we manage our waste, with support from funded agencies. The levy was not designed to solely support waste management, or for direct investment into local government. It does support councils and agencies to deliver evidence-based policy and programs that improve waste management and enable action on climate change.
The key agencies that improve waste management and resource recovery in Victoria—the Environment Protection Authority, Sustainability Victoria, and the seven Waste and Resource Recovery Groups—will receive around $105 million in cash in 2017-18. These agencies support councils to improve waste and resource recovery outcomes by supporting waste education programs and by facilitating collective procurements of waste services and infrastructure.
The Victorian Government is investing the Sustainability Fund in waste and resource recovery. The 2017-18 budget provides for a $30.4 million investment in waste and resource recovery over four years. That money will be used to deliver on the government’s commitment to ban e-waste from landfill, boost Sustainability Victoria’s Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund, and improve the way we manage litter and collect waste data.
Sustainability Fund programs benefit the broader community, not just the direct funding recipients. For example, the Illegal Dumping Strikeforce program gives the Environment Protection Authority the resources it needs to reduce risks to human health and the environment from illegal dumping of waste. The Sustainability Fund also supports grants programs managed by Sustainability Victoria, the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group, and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Local councils are eligible to apply for many of these grants.
Victorian State Budget 2017-18
Waste and Resource Recovery
$30.4 million over four years is allocated from the Sustainability Fund to implement Victoria’s waste and resource recovery planning framework.
This initiative will increase the recovery rate for priority materials and reduce the amount of waste being landfilled, through programs and funding to support local councils to improve waste transfer stations and introduce new collection and transport measures.
There will be more support for schools, businesses, community groups and local government to reduce litter and more investment in waste to energy and resource recovery infrastructure across Victoria.
It will deliver jobs and improved liveability for Victorians through investment in resource recovery infrastructure, and supporting the Victorian Government’s election commitment to ban e-waste from landfill.
Further information can be found at: https://www2.delwp.vic.gov.au/environment-and-energy-big-winners-in-the-201718-budget