Douglas Shire Council to raise waste levy concerns
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DOUGLAS Shire Mayor Julia Leu will fight to protect ratepayers from a proposed waste disposal levy being planned by the Queensland Government next year.
Council confirmed today they will lodge a submission to the Department of Environment and Science in relation to the new waste management strategy, which could have significant financial and resource impacts on Council.
The Palaszczuk Government released its Transforming Queensland’s Recycling and Waste Industry directions paper earlier this month. The paper outlines the directions for the state’s new resource recovery, recycling and waste management strategy.
Acting Premier Jackie Trad said the paper included details of how households 'will not face extra costs when putting out their wheelie bins every week', however a number of local governments are concerned it could directly impact ratepayers.
“Council is requesting that street and park litter bins, as well as council-generated waste are either excluded from the levy or treated as Municipal Solid Waste (MSW),” Cr Leu said.
“Douglas Shire Council considers waste a resource and continues to commit to programs and processes that reduce, reuse and recycle waste products to stop this resource ending up in landfill.”
Mayor Leu said Council supported the levy but wanted to safeguard Douglas Shire ratepayers.
“We want to make sure our ratepayers aren’t the ones who wear the cost,” she said.
“It is vital this proposed levy is not rushed and regional areas such as Douglas Shire are guaranteed access to funds to help us keep up with the latest technology and gain access to markets.
“The levy will provide much-needed funding for infrastructure, innovation, processing technologies, education and waste minimisation programs to drive components of the waste hierarchy.”
It comes as Cairns Regional Council called for the State Government to delay its implementation of the waste levy until 2020 to allow local governments to be ‘levy ready’.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning has raised numerous concerns, including the timing of the waste levy’s introduction, a possible increase in illegal dumping, implications on Council’s budget and operations and subsequent financial impact on ratepayers.
Mayor Manning said Council also agreed 'with the broad objectives' of the proposed Queensland Waste Strategy.
“The State’s objectives are very similar to our own, with the ultimate outcome being to drastically reduce – or even eliminate – waste going to landfill,” Cr Manning said.
“However, some of the steps that they are taking to get there have the potential to impact greatly on Council’s operations and on our ratepayers.
“We feel more time is needed to allow councils to properly prepare for the levy and for its introduction and subsequent increases to be in line with the start of the financial year.”
Douglas Shire and Cairns are the only two Councils north of Ingham to provide kerbside and public place recycling.
Douglas has provided this service since 1996 and has moved to stop landfilling by entering into contracts with the Bedminster Advanced Waste Treatment (AWT).
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