Waste tender options

REGION - Northern Grampians Shire Council is outsourcing the tender process for the provision of Waste Management Services in the region.

Procurement Australia is acting as tender agent for both Northern Grampians Shire Council and Ararat Rural City Council.

The new contract will be comprised of two services including Waste Collection and Recycling Collection.

Northern Grampians Shire Mayor, Cr Wayne Rice, said council isn't planning to take the new contract, commencing July 1, out of Stawell.

"At the end of the day we have a responsibility to the ratepayers, if the difference is a couple of thousand dollars then for sure we will keep it local," he said.

"However, if the difference is one hundred or one hundred and fifty thousand then we will need to seriously consider our options.

"There are a number of factors that could mean it won't stay in Stawell, but if it is cost-effective to stay locally, we want it to stay locally."

Cr Rice said he was very closely considering the potential impacts on local business and employees.

"We are very conscientious of the fact we are losing the mine, we don't want to see other people losing their jobs."

Wheelie Waste is currently responsible for Kerbside, Public Litter Bins and Transfer Station waste collection under the current contract which will expire on June 31.

Graeme Anyon, CEO of A and N Collection has the current recycling contract.

Mr Anyon who has almost 30 years experience in the industry said the tender should be brought back in house.

"If both the waste and recycling collection can be ran well at present and make a profit, why can't the council continue to do it and save the ratepayer money each year," he said.

"Instead council is paying a consultant to put the tender process together.

"The best way forward would be for two officers to be appointed in conjunction with the Waste Management Group and Northern Grampians Shire Council to run the tender."

He said he didn't expect much to change when it came to employment, but whether or not the profits continued to stay local was less clear.

Northern Grampians Shire Council Acting Manager for Building and Planning Kath Gosden said the tender process was unavoidable.

"The reality is the current contracts will soon expire and under the local government act we have to go out to tender," she said.

"We have engaged the services of Procurement Australia to work with us on preparing the documents as we work with Ararat Rural City Council."

Mrs Gosden said having another party involved meant being able to canvas the opportunities from having both councils go to tender at the one time.

"It is important for us to look at what opportunities may arise from working with Ararat Rural City and how in the future we go about meeting requirements and the costs of management and recycling services," she said.

Mrs Gosden said at no stage would the cost of service provision for each individual council be lost if one company became responsible for both municipalities.

"We need to recognise the efficiencies that could be gained through combining the services and having one, bigger collection area," she said.

It is expected the awarding of the new contract will fall into line with new government regulations requiring garbage bins down size to 120 litres.

A third bin is also expected to be introduced for green waste disposal.

"We think with these changes forced upon us by government already it is a perfect opportunity to bring everything together," Mr Rice said.

He said he believed Compulsory Container Deposit legislation, which they have in South Australia, was the best way to encourage recycling.

"The ten cents you get back for picking up bottles and cans and plastics is a real incentive to recycle," he said.

"I think it is the best way to keep recyclables out of landfill sites."

Tender submissions close on Wednesday February 13 with the new contract to run for a period of five years.

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