During the August 2017 Strategy and Assets Meeting, Mayor Amanda Findley in her Mayoral Minute made a recommendation for Shoalhaven City Council to continue to make representations and advocate to the NSW State Government to return Waste Levy funds to the regions they were collected from.
Mayor Findley suggested that the Shoalhaven City Council should be excluded from the metropolitan levy collection or at the very least, have the levy amount reduced in the Shoalhaven to the same regional level as other regional areas such as the Blue Mountains.
Mayor Findley said it was to the benefit of the Shoalhaven to have more of the Waste Levy funds return to the regions. “The State Government is extracting from Shoalhaven residents and businesses over $33 million in the last four years and only returned $1,735 million, that is only 5.2%.? Where is the equity and fairness? This is money coming out of the pockets of residents and businesses going straight into the State Government’s coffers.”
“At $138.20 per tonne, the waste levy currently makes up 40% of the Shoalhaven’s landfill gate fee and adding GST into the mix, the tax on the landfill gate fee is 50% of the fee.”
The intent of the levy was to encourage recycling and divert waste away from landfill.
As a regional area with low socio economic indicators and high unemployment, the Shoalhaven is regulated together with the Sydney Metropolitan levy area and charged a levy of $138.20 per tonne. In comparison, the Blue Mountains and Wollondilly both clearly closer in distance to and more economically empowered, are classified as being in the Regional Levy area and charged a levy of only $79.60 tonne. Mayor Findley said, Council needs to be reclassified as outside of the levy regulated areas such as Eurobodalla which pays no levy.
“We believe that the list of Local Government Areas being charged the waste levy needs to be reassessed. The assessment needs to consider factors such as distance to recycling processors, quantum of waste produced in the LGA and affordability.”
“Regional areas are challenged further by the relatively higher cost of hauling recyclable materials to the downstream processors. Downstream processors generally require high volumes of materials for cost effective processing of recyclables. “
“Processing factories logically select a location for their operation that is close to the largest source of material, generally within in the Sydney Metropolitan Area, so a regional area such as the Shoalhaven faces the high cost of recycling, the increasing cost of transport and the highest available levy on landfill.”
Mayor Findley continued, “Council has raised this matter on numerous occasions with the Government and recently again with the Deputy Premier The Hon. John Barilaro at a recent visit. We will not let it go away as those funds could be used to support our local infrastructure. On Wednesday, 23 August, Council had another direct opportunity to present our case to the Minister for Environment, The Hon. Gabrielle Upton.
Council agreed that it will continue to make representations to the NSW State Government and remind Ministers of the commitments made by NSW local members and the previous Premier to return these funds to where they were taken from.