Queensland Waste Levy – UAVs used to gather waste volumes

Town Planning Surveying
Jul 18, 2019

UAV technology utilised by registered cadastral surveyors to measure landfill waste across Queensland

Mr McPeake, Senior Town Planner, at the Town Planning and Surveying consultancy Veris located in Cairns, said that landfill operators within the levy zone across Queensland were in a rush to comply with new requirements for the Queensland Waste Levy.

The waste levy was introduced by the Palaszczuk Government on the 1st of July 2019. “These new requirements affect both Council landfills and private landfills” Mr McPeake said. 

In accordance with the changes introduced by the Government, landfill operators must carry out baseline volumetric surveys of their waste stockpiles and resource recovery areas between the 1 July 2019 and the 31 August 2019. With the survey carried out and the volumes certified by a registered cadastral surveyor.

Mr Scott Reid, Principal Surveyor at Veris said, “Volumetric surveys are difficult and time consuming surveys to undertake. “It’s hard to accurately measure a waste stockpile, as it’s not flat or a square surface”.

“That’s why our registered surveyors utilise Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to accurately scan the stockpiles. This method is the most accurate, is the most cost effective and is the safest for our staff. More importantly the landfill operators can get back to operations on site faster”. Mr Reid said. The same technology can be used on mine sites and quarries. 

“Unfortunately there are unqualified drone operators purporting to be able to undertake these surveys." Mr McPeake said that landfill operators need to be careful to confirm that the data is gathered and certified by a registered surveyor. “These drone operators aren’t qualified to conduct surveys in accordance with the Waste Reduction and Recycling Regulation 2011." Mr McPeake said.

“For example 3 landfill sites in Cairns are located with the CASA no fly zone, and conducting aerial surveys via drone or UAV in a regulated airspace requires the appropriate licenses and permits from CASA”. Mr McPeake confirmed that Veris operators have all the correct licences, permits and experience to conduct the surveys in accordance with the Waste Reduction and Recycling Regulation 2011 and CASA. 

Mr McPeake urges operators within the levy zone across Queensland to contact a registered surveyor like Veris to assist with their compliance with the new Queensland waste levy.


James McPeake

Senior Town Planner

A multi-disciplinary individual, James has worked as a town planner in Cairns for the following state government departments: Transport and Main Roads, Natural Resources and Mines and Environment and Resource Management. James has significant knowledge in the following areas: statutory development assessment, vegetation management and state land asset management. James has also worked as a planner with a local government in the region. James has been on all sides of the desk for developments big and small.