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Levy scrapped to stop asbestos waste being dropped in city streets

Deadly asbestos dust busters
Health inspectors contain an asbestos dump in Wattle Lane, Untimo.  
THE state government will scrap the waste levy on asbestos from home renovations sent to tips in an effort to stop the potentially deadly material being dumped on city streets. 

Environment Minister Robyn Parker will also ­announce today that, under the $3 million trial scheme, the Environmental Protection Authority will pay $50 towards the cost of removing and transporting asbestos to tips and landfill sites.

Asbestos dumping has ­become a major problem across the state, despite new laws that threaten imprisonment instead of a fine.

Dumpers are trying to avoid the waste levy, which is charged at tips and landfill sites and costs $107.80 per tonne in Sydney and $53.70 a tonne in regional NSW.

One of the most infamous asbestos dumpings was a tip truck opening its rear gate and depositing two tonnes outside a pair of daycare centres on Wattle Lane at Ultimo in inner Sydney last December which took two days and cost $13,000 to clear up.
The asbestos waste levy will be scrapped over a 12-month trial in at least 10 local government areas, which have yet to be decided. The scheme will be expanded if successful.

Ms Parker said the EPA would waive the asbestos levy to a maximum of 6500 tonnes over the 12 months, and the $50 contribution per tonne ­towards the cost and removal of asbestos would also be capped at 6500 tonnes.

"The scheme is open to residents for small residential amounts of asbestos and licensed asbestos removalists on behalf of a resident for larger amounts,'' a spokesman for Ms Parker said. "Unlicensed removalists are ineligible.''

The spokesman said the scheme was a trial in which methods of disposal of asbestos would be tested and so would not include all landfills.

The government is seeking expressions of interest from local councils.
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