By Kate Taylor
The idea to give ratepayers a free tip voucher in with their rates notices has been dumped by council.
Voted on at the April 3 council meeting, the proposal to allow ratepayers a free cubic metre of rubbish taken to a council transfer station involved lengthy debate.
A report tabled at the meeting recommended providing the vouchers, however at a cost to be passed on to all ratepayers.
Currently Council’s transfer stations generate approximately 3,500 tonnes of materials per financial year and with that number set to rise with vouchers, a waste management fee of $25 would be applied by council to cover the cost of dealing with the increased amount of rubbish.
The report did also note that in the neighbouring council area of Melton, ratepayers are provided with vouchers however only about 25 per cent of them are actually used.
Printing and distributing the vouchers alone could have cost council up to $5,000, which was argued to have been offset by a reduction in illegal dumping.
Councillors Dave Edwards, Tonia Dudzik and Jarrod Bingham all voted in favour of the vouchers.
“We spend over $380,000 picking up dumped rubbish… rubbish is dumped all the time, this won’t fix all the problems, but it will reduce the waste getting dumped,” Cr Edwards argued.
“We have a clear problem with rubbish dumping,” Cr Bingham agreed.
“The community expects this service, it will help reduce the amount of rubbish dumped,” Cr Dudzik also argued.
However, Cr Sullivan was the first to object to passing the motion for the vouchers, noting there was not an opt-out clause even for owners of vacant properties.
“I oppose this because it is a poor outcome, it will encourage more waste generation. We are trying to reduce waste, and we would blatantly be encouraging it,” Cr Sullivan argued.
“It’s not the way we should be doing this, it’s not forward thinking.”
“We do need a system where some people can come in and get a voucher, at their cost. But 75 per cent of people would be paying for a service they don’t want,” Cr Toohey argued.
With councillors John Keogh, Pat Toohey and Tom Sullivan voting against the vouchers, the vote was split and Mayor Paul Tatchell cast the decider – against the motion and the vouchers.
Councillor John Keogh proposed a trial, however his amendment to include it within the motion was made after the vote, meaning that it could not be considered as the item had been already heard.