Waste service would cost

December 07, 2017

A hard waste collection service may seem like an appealing proposition from the outset, ensuring residents no longer need to ferry items to the council’s resource recovery centres at their own expense.

Except, a hard waste collection will come at the expense of ratepayers, likely the funds to be recovered elsewhere, for a service that is unlikely to have a 100 per cent uptake rate.

There is other risks and clear negatives, though.

For one, hard rubbish on nature strips across Shepparton provides an unsightly addition to the streetscape.

It also creates a situation where possibly hazardous materials are dumped on kerbs. But perhaps more concerning, it does nothing to encourage strong recycling practices.

The connection between illegal dumping and having a hard waste collection, and whether such a service is likely to mitigate dumping, is unclear.

If anything, it could be argued such a service encourages dumping by removing the obligation on the resident to dispose of their hard rubbish themselves.

Tip tickets provide more merit and possibly a way to incentivise waste removal. But likewise, they cost. And these costs will need to be recovered somewhere.

No-one likes paying more for things than before, such as was heard when gate fees for the resource recovery centres jumped last year.

But a user-pays system seems far and away the fairest system for the council to recover costs in these areas, avoiding residents paying for a service they do not use.

The need for such revenue to be recovered — and the gradual need to push services towards user-pays models, where if you use it, you pay for it — is emblematic of the position councils are put in.

The News has heard extensively about the impact rate-capping and other cost shifting measures are having on service provision and asset renewal for regional councils.

And as such, like everything, the $1.7million a hard rubbish collection would cost to run would need to be found somewhere.

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