Councillor's international 'junk'-et
A $25,000 Waste Study Tour has the potential for Gladstone to become "Queensland's leader in the next 10 years when it comes to waste management", according to deputy mayor Chris Trevor.
On Tuesday, Gladstone Regional Council approved councillor Rick Hansen to attend the 16-day tour taking him to places such as Denmark, Spain, the United Kingdom and United States of America.
The tour came about following the Queensland Government's commitment with the Local Government Association of Queensland and Peak Services (a division of the LGAQ) organising for councils to attend established facilities researching waste to energy and energy to waste.
It also comes off the back of a recent LGAQ waste forum, attended by GRC chief executive officer Roslyn Baker, where Queensland Council's showed support for a zero-waste plan by 2028. The first leg of the tour will begin at Copenhagen where the Danes are leading the way in waste-to-energy initiatives.
This is highlighted by the recently constructed Amager Bakke waste-to-energy incineration plant, claimed to be the cleanest in the world.
Cr Hansen will then travel to Barcelona, London and finish the tour by visiting Miami, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.
Each city has its own renewable energy facilities, something Cr Trevor wants Gladstone to be at the forefront of.
"We saw it as absolutely imperative we send a delegate on this tour because Gladstone is leading the way in Queensland, and possibly Australia, with its waste management technologies," Cr Trevor said.
"We're way ahead of the pack in relation to that with our biofuels industry. We see a huge gap in the market that we could take financial advantage of by increasing our skills by having Cr Hansen attend."
The total cost of the tour is estimated at $25,209, a figure that will easily pay for itself in the eyes of council.
"We hope that one day to actually have a council-run waste management facility that will enable us to provide a return to our ratepayers from a financial perspective," Cr Trevor said.
"We've got a lot of skin in the game here because we're recognised as being ahead of the pack. Given that China has now cracked down on accepting foreign waste, we see a massive opportunity in the market to take advantage of that and be a market leader.
"We hope to be Queensland's leader in the next 10 years when it comes to waste management, which would derive a significant financial benefit to our ratepayers, providing a return on their investment many times over."
Cr Hansen will be away August 24-September 8.