Recycling fiasco to hit councils where it hurts
- Created on Wednesday, 28 February 2018 19:42
Recent news that China has banned the importation of certain recycling materials from abroad has left Victoria's councils scrambling to find a solution to the recycling crisis.
We understand that three of Victoria's recycling companies are positioning themselves for 'price adjustments' while dumping recyclable materials in land-fill has also been mentioned. All told Councils are facing steep cost increases, which the MAV estimate to be between 1.1 to 2.5% of a rate increase.
Meanwhile the rate cap for this financial year has been fixed at 2.25%. Many councils charge municipal waste charges which are not subject to the rate cap – this means that any fix to the recycling fiasco will cost rate-payers somewhere in the order of 1.1-2.5% in addition to the rate cap. Blame shifting is taking place between councils, the state government and nebulous 'market forces' that have seen the price of commodity prices crash.
The irony is not lost on the ASU. While council workers have been squeezed for every dollar because of rate capping, rates will now have to go up to address an issue that, with a bit of foresight and smart investment of taxpayers' dollars, should never have occurred.
Rate capping was supposed to force councils to find cheaper solutions to all their operational requirements – including shipping recyclable material to China. Now that solution has failed, councils are expected to cough up to millions of dollars between them to address a problem a little bit of investment years earlier could have saved much more money down the track.
In the end the community is going to have to pay because councils have not been able to do their job properly because rate capping has restricted their ability to fund services as required. The recycling fiasco is just the latest in a long line of rate capping's failures.
It is also timely to remind members that some councils may choose to cut expenditure in other areas of the council organisation to cover the cost of the recycling chaos – if management move to cut funding in your work area, get in touch with your delegate or organiser as soon as possible.