LETTER TO THE EDITOR
IT IS both disappointing and concerning that the first priority of the draft Leeton Shire Council Waste Management Strategy is to impose a charge for all domestic waste taken to the Leeton Landfill.
The draft Strategy argues that new charges are needed to drive behavioural change in Leeton residents by making them separate their waste at the landfill to reduce or prevent the charges they may have to pay.
However, many councils who charge access fees suffer significant levels of illegal dumping which would be unwelcome given the reduction in the numbers of compliance staff at Council.
Furthermore Section 504 of the Local Government Act mandates that waste charges set by a council cannot exceed the reasonable cost of providing waste services.
In 2019 council had $3,469,304 in restricted reserves to spend on waste management and will still have $2,664,304 left by 30/6/20.
Whilst every council is different, the state average for waste reserves is currently $1.6m.
Recently the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal announced a review into domestic waste management charges as they appear to be increasing faster than either the rate peg level or inflation, as well as not appearing to deliver good value for ratepayers.
Leeton Council has never charged for general domestic waste at any of it landfills, and yet it has still managed to fund the purchase of land for and the development and operation of, a state-of- the-art facility at Corbie Hill, as well as establishing and maintaining significant waste reserves.