Waste levy a load of rubbish
MAYOR Rachel Chambers has disputed suggestions that a new State Government-imposed waste disposal levy will have no direct impact on ratepayers.
The laws, which are due to come into effect in 2019, propose a $70 per tonne levy on waste in an effort to stem the tide of New South Wales trucks dumping rubbish north of the border.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has repeatedly insisted the legislation would include provisions that "ensure households will not face extra costs when putting out their wheelie bins,” but Cr Chambers isn't convinced.
Mayor Chambers said council would require "long-term financial assistance” to meet the strategy directives, and they would have no choice but to increase rates.
"The initiatives will cost more than the rebate proposed by the state and so the only other source of funding council will have is the rate payer,” Cr Chambers said.
"Local governments will be forced to pass on these additional costs to households through rates and Queensland Government should be honest in stating so.”
While the southeast has both the infrastructure and economies of scale to successfully implement the levy, the same cannot be said of rural councils.
Mayor Chambers said that although interstate dumping was an issue, the North Burnett had not received any waste from New South Wales and she didn't see how the levy was relevant to councils further from the border.
Council requested the North Burnett be excluded from the levy because of the cost involved in transporting recyclables to major centres, and the significant capital and operational funds required.
A population threshold of 10,000 was established to determine whether councils will be exempt.
Despite the North Burnett's population being just a few hundred over, council has been informed they will not be one of the 49 local governments excluded.
"Due to our demographic, geographic and financial profile, there is a good argument not to include North Burnett Regional Council in the levy zone,” Cr Chambers said.
"There's absolutely no doubt that waste is one of the looming issues on our immediate and future horizon and we must get innovative with how we address it.
"The problem with this waste levy is that it's another one size fits all approach, which does not fit the North Burnett.”
Regional councils are expected to lobby to have the levy rolled out in phases, starting in the southeast.
They believe this approach would address the issue and provide time for its effectiveness to be reviewed.
Meanwhile, the North Burnett is on the front foot when it comes to sustainable waste management.
Council recently launched an "e-waste” trial in an effort to reduce the dumping of obsolete electronic goods in landfill.
The initiative forms part of a larger discussion around sustainability, and a movement to encourage recycling and make residents concious of their environmental footprint.
As of Monday, July 23, residents have the ability to leave e-waste recyclables (under 3 cubic metres) at all North Burnett Waste Management Facilities free of charge.
Mayor Rachel Chambers said council plans to use e-waste to build flood gauges within a social enterprise model.
"The e-waste trial was offered to us and we have taken it up to ascertain the volumes of in the area whilst we prepare the other parts of our social enterprise model,” she said.
"It is anticipated that the trial will redirect e-waste into recycled components that can be used as parts or raw products to create other electronic parts.
"This is an initial trial to reduce e-waste going to landfill, however, it is hoped that as a community we can use this e-waste effectively ourselves into the future.”