Victoria will almost double its landfill levy to $125.90 per tonne to help pay for fixing the state's recycling and waste crisis.
The increase from the current levy of $66 per tonne will be rolled out over three years, with the first increase of $20 per tonne happening on July 1, Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio announced on Wednesday.
She said the increased levy would also help stop Victoria from becoming an interstate dumping ground for hazardous waste.
"Our population is growing, our challenge and our commitment will be to ensure that we reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfill," she said at a Melbourne business lunch.
South Australia currently charges a landfill levy of $140 per tonne and NSW $143.
The levy is charged on all waste disposed at tips, with that cost passed on through council rates and landfill station gate fees.
About four million tonnes of waste goes to landfill each year in Victoria.
The levy increase is part of a 10-year plan to overhaul waste and recycling in Victoria, which the Andrews Labor government has progressively revealed this week.
Other measures include an eventual container deposit scheme and fourth household bin to improve material separation.
There will also be a new agency to coordinate it all, Recycling Victoria, which will set a landfill diversion target of 80 per cent and create a data system to track the flow of materials.
Shadow Treasurer Louise Staley criticised the government for hiking up a tax that is already not fully utilised in the sector and instead used to boost the budget.
"They've been using it to prop up their budget with it and to fund their broader environmental agenda that's got nothing to do with waste," she told reporters.
Business lobby, the Ai Group, said the levy hike was coming at a difficult time for recyclers.
"Raising the costs of recycling will impede the important task of raising levels of recycling in Victoria because it will make recycling less profitable for the industry," the group said in a statement.
The recycling industry fell into crisis last year after China declared it would no longer accept contaminated recycling materials.
Stockpiles at various SKM processing facilities caught fire and the business then collapsed, putting further pressure on the system and forcing recycling to be sent to landfill.
Victoria has also been tackling a crisis in dealing with toxic waste, which has also seen several fires at warehouses.
On Wednesday, the government confirmed a $71 million waste crime investigation squad within the Environmental Protection Authority to tackle illegal toxic stockpiles, working with emergency services, local councils and WorkSafe to monitor, investigate and prosecute.
The estimated annual costs to the government and the taxpayer are approximately $58 million in clean-up costs for abandoned waste sites, $105 million to respond to large stockpile fires and $30 million for illegal dumping.
Australian Associated Press