Council wants no direct impact on households from State waste levy

Redland City Council today approved a submission in response to the State Government’s Waste Directions Paper currently open for public consultation.

Mayor Karen Williams said that while Council supported the key principles of the new State Government strategy – underpinned by a waste disposal levy – the lack of detail in their paper meant that she could not be sure there would be no direct impacts on Redland households.

“I am very mindful of modern cost of living pressures and Council carefully considers each budget to achieve an efficient position without loss of service or community satisfaction,” Cr Williams said.

“It is hard to tell how the State Government can meet its commitment for no direct cost to households when they have only considered red-lidded household bins under their ill-defined definition of municipal solid waste (MSW).

“Under the paper, Councils would get 105 per cent advance payment to offset the additional levy costs on municipal solid waste (MSW). But red-lidded wheelie bins only account for 75 per cent of MSW. The other 25 per cent is made up of household waste that residents take to waste transfer stations (self-haul waste).  Councils are also seeking clarity on public litter bins and bulk bins from domestic multiple dwellings.

“Ratepayers could end up footing the bill for any of these categories, and Council understands that the inclusion of self-haul waste is not certain.

“The paper also lacks assurance to local government that these advance payments will continue, with a lack of transparency in the State budgets papers beyond 2018/2019,” Cr Williams said.

Redland City Deputy Mayor Lance Hewlett said it was also concerning that the State Government’s proposed levy start date was the first quarter of 2019.

“We would like commencement delayed until 1 July 2019 to give Council time to plan for essential things like staffing, infrastructure, IT and finance systems, procedure reviews and communications.

“Aside for the logistical difficulties in meeting such a short lead time, Council has already set its budget parameters for consideration by Council on 25 June 2018 for the next financial year. It is currently not possible to reset the utility charges – for example for commercial kerbside collection – so Council expenses would increase without any opportunity for revenue adjustment.

“Council has an excellent record when it comes to waste minimisation, recovery and recycling and our community should be commended for embracing kerbside recycling.  We have low recycling contamination rates compared with other local governments, thanks in large part to ongoing and sustained education campaigns.

“We welcome changes in the waste management section, but cannot give wholesale support for a paper which lacks the detail to assure us that our households will not be penalised,” Cr Hewlett said.