Back up the truck: Recyclable materials are off loaded for sorting at the City of Ballarat’s processing facility in Wendouree. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

City’s new recycling program could add $2 mill to rates

August 14, 2019 BY

STATE opposition leader, Michael O’Brien, has said that yesterday’s announcement by the City of Ballarat that it would manage its own recycling sorting will cost the municipality two-million dollars a year.

The claim comes after the city’s Director of Infrastructure and Environment, Terry Demeo, said that a sorting facility in Wendouree would be pressed back into action following the demise of provider SKM.

Mr O’Brien said the move would add a significant cost to the city’s rate payers and laid the blame at the feet of the State government.

“Ballarat city council is going to have to charge rate payers an extra $2 million because the State government in Spring Street has stuffed up recycling,” he said.

“It’s absolutely not fair, Ballarat city council has done nothing wrong, Ballarat families have done nothing wrong, but they are going to be paying an extra $41 through their rates.”

Municipal curb side recycling services have faced many challenges following a decision by China’s government in 2018 to no longer accept anything but clean and highly processed waste material.

That move had knock on effects to recycling streams across the globe and ultimately resulted in the demise of major industry player in Victoria, SKM.

Yesterday the State government announced a $11.3 million plan, with $6.6 million available over the next four months, to help 33 local governments deal with the fall out and try and divert recyclable materials from ending up in landfill.

Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle said the State government had “acted quickly.”

“Those living in the Ballarat region will be pleased to know that the Andrews Government has acted quickly to ensure our recyclable materials don’t end up as landfill,” she said.

“We are seeking greater transparency from councils in regards to waste management to ensure the best economic and environmental outcomes for all.”

But Mr O’Brien said that the $6.6 million would not be enough.

“We know the cost for Ballarat alone is $2 million,” he said. “Why is it fair for councils who haven’t done the wrong thing and families who haven’t done the wrong thing to have to pay through the nose?”

The $2 million claim comes after the City of Ballarat yesterday announced a recycling sorting facility in Wendouree would be reactivated.

The site is a partnership between Vic Waste Solutions, council and disability job provider Ballarat Regional Industries.

Mr Demeo said the sorting space, just off Coronet Street would be “kicked into place” on Monday, receiving curb side collections directly.

“It’s a belt where we’ve got some mechanical sorting taking out aluminium at the front end, and some pretty rudimentary sorting with employees up on the belt taking out useful plastics, cardboard and paper that is readily marketable domestically,” he said.

“That’s what we’re doing to try and ensure we’re getting whatever’s useful out of the recycling bins and not require it to go to landfill. We’ll do this as long as it’s pragmatic to do so.”

The City of Ballarat has been contacted for a response to Mr O’Brien’s claims.