Region's tip fees will rise

Northern Grampians Shire Council is about to introduce its flat fee for recycled items at transfer stations, including Stawell. Picture: KERRI KINGSTON

Northern Grampians Shire Council is about to introduce its flat fee for recycled items at transfer stations, including Stawell. Picture: KERRI KINGSTON

Northern Grampians Shire Council is about to introduce its flat fee for recycled items at transfer stations across the municipality.

Council will, in August, introduce a new policy where transfer station users will be charged a flat fee of $10 to dispose of some recycled materials.

Mayor, Cr Kevin Erwin said any mixture of commingled recycling (items accepted in the kerbside recycling bin), scrap metal, vehicle batteries and motor oil were covered by the new fee.

"The $10 cap applies regardless of the number of recyclable items being deposited," he said.

"For example, if you arrive at the transfer station with a trailer load that includes some scrap metal, a car battery and commingled recycling, you will be charged $10 for the entire load."

Cr Erwin said transfer stations were expensive to operate.

"There is a common misconception in the community that recycling doesn't cost anything, however there are costs to store, transport and process these items in order to recycle them into new products," he said.

"It is still a subsidised charge and the community is not paying the true costs of the service, but the introduction of a flat fee recognises that residents are contributing to the costs to manage these sorts of items."

Cr Erwin said people could save on transfer station recycling fees by transporting a larger load in their car or trailer rather than a small number of individual pieces. More information is available at www.ngshire.vic.gov.au

Council first raised the idea in May this year, announcing it would phase in an increase to the minimum flat fee at its transfer stations.

Council, as part of the proposal, will also reduce and standardise the level of subsidy for waste to landfill to 50 percent by 2016/17.

To achieve the reduced rate of subsidisation, most transfer station gate fees will need to increase over the next three years.

Council resolved to implement the changes after a review identified some items were being subsidised by as much as 91 percent.

The move will eventually see transfer station users and council contribute an equal amount to the cost of waste management.

Cr Erwin said council had initially called for a review of the gate fees in late 2013, in response to community concern about the prices being charged to dispose of waste materials.

"Even if people don't use the transfer stations, they are making a significant contribution to the running costs through rates and charges," he said.

Transfer station gate fees in the Northern Grampians Shire currently cover about 25 per cent of the running cost of sites in Halls Gap, St Arnaud and Stawell, with the remainder absorbed by ratepayers through fees and charges.

Cr Erwin said the costs of operating a transfer station relate to the sorting, storage, processing and transport of materials, as well as staffi ng and site maintenance.

"Some members of the community believe waste facilities should be provided free of charge to the user," Cr Erwin said.

"The reality is that if council was to remove the gate fees, the costs to provide the service would need to be derived either through general rates or other fees and charges set by council. In other words, people would be paying extra for other services to cover transfer station costs."

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