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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Business urges government to waive levy

INNISFAIL based business Northern Iron & Brass Foundry Pty Ltd (NIBF) are calling on the State Government to amend legislation and permanently exempt the 89-year-old business from its Waste Levy.

The business’s latest exemption is expected to run out on December 31, 2023, and according to Member for Hill Shane Knuth, the State Government has failed to live up to its commitment to amend the legislation and seems to be avoiding facing the issue.

As well as being hit with a 200 per cent increase in waste disposal costs via the levy, the changes to and removal of electricity tariff 37 from July 2020 has forced the foundry into a higher tariff and increasing electricity costs by a further 40 per cent.

Northern Iron and Brass Foundry operations manager Joe Vecchio said the State Government needs to help the Innisfail foundry so that waste was not going to regulated landfill and could continue to be recycled.

“The State Government has given us three exemptions since the legislation was first introduced but have done nothing to fix the core root of the problem in the legislation,” he said.

“We have exhausted every possible option we can to recycle the current moulding sand on site but we don’t have easy access to waste facilities that major cities enjoy, so once the exemption expires, we will be left with no other options.

“It will have to be transported at significant cost to regulated landfill in Townsville, as it cannot be dumped locally.”

Mr Vecchio said this will add hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cost to the business, which is going to create a “huge financial burden on the foundry”.

He added that if the business cannot continue, the effect on Innisfail will be highly destructive and create a domino effect right throughout the region.

“All we are asking for is urgency, understanding and some empathy in working with us to amend the legislation to assist the business to keep our doors open and keep employing the local workforce,” Mr Vecchio said.

After raising the matter in parliament, a number of times and holding a number of meetings, Mr Knuth said he was fed up.

“This is another example of poorly thought-out legislation that has had a devastating effect on NIBF, who employ up to 70 people in Innisfail,” said Mr Knuth.

“NIBF has been granted a financial exemption three times from the Waste Levy with assurances the issue would be fixed.

“Saving an 89-year-old business which employs 70 people may not sound like much in the ivory towers down south, but it would be similar to losing 2,000 jobs in Brisbane,” he said.

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Police launch search for man missing in crocodile country and Pair arrested after found driving stolen vehicle.

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