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Use the tip tax to help manage waste

News Article Date: 
Friday, 16 February 2018

Warrnambool City Council is committed to waste management as a core business of Local Government.

“And when the State Government applies a very hefty tip tax it becomes their core business too,” Warrnambool Mayor Cr Robert Anderson said.

“The Warrnambool community pays about $250,000 annually to the State Government through the tip tax, otherwise known as the landfill levy.

“And across the region we have paid millions to successive State governments through the tip tax which has so far collected in excess of $450 million”.

Warrnambool City Council continues to explore costs and options to manage household waste, including recyclables.

Council remains committed to working with the State Government on managing waste and recyclables.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

“The situation is this: our contractor Wheelie Waste entered into an arrangement with Visy under which Visy paid Wheelie Waste for the recyclable materials, which until recently were a commodity with commercial value,” Director City Infrastructure Scott Cavanagh said.

“Visy has since advised Wheelie Waste that instead of paying for recyclable material they want to be paid to accept it.

“There is no certainty as to how much this is going to cost and it poses a financial risk to ratepayers and Council’s budget.

“Our contract with Wheelie Waste is rock solid but that is not helping anyone in this situation.

“We’re asking the community to keep separating rubbish and recycling as usual.

“It’s going to be another couple of weeks before the issue is resolved and there will be an impact to Council’s budget this year.

“Changes in the global market for recyclable materials will have an impact on households in the next financial year.

“It could be in the order of $40 to $50 per household to ensure we reduce the amount of waste going into landfill.”

Cr Anderson said revenue from the tip tax flowing back to the regions could help offset the impact on ratepayers.

 “Council is also looking forward to the findings of the Auditor-General’s Office which is investigating the landfill levy,” he said.

The Office of the Auditor-General has stated that:

“There have been ongoing issues with the landfill levy system—namely, its transparency and management and whether the funds’ expenditure is meeting the system’s intended legislative purposes.

“The administration of the fund was transferred from EPA to DELWP to address these issues. Since 2012, the fund has increased by 294 per cent to $466.25 million, while the amount distributed through grants has decreased by 34 per cent to $23.2 million in 2015–16.”

Cr Anderson said one action that could help resolve the situation would be the introduction of container deposit legislation (CDL),”

“Unfortunately Victoria and Tasmania are lagging behind other states when it comes to CDL.

“All other Australian states either have CDL or have announced dates for its introduction.

“Victoria needs to catch up.

“We can follow South Australia’s lead and turn this into an opportunity.”

Mr Cavanagh said events of recent weeks had highlighted the importance of an organics collection.

“We are confident that our Food Organics, Garden Organics or FOGO collection will deliver great benefits for ratepayers and the environment,” Mr Cavanagh said.

“The pilot program we are running at the moment involving about 10 per cent of Warrnambool households will give us the firm data we need but the evidence from similar collections in other municipalities is that this can benefit the environment and reduce the financial impost on ratepayers.”


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