Regional Councils object to Waste Levy
Mayors and General Managers representing the Mid North Coast Group of Councils (MIDGOC) propose to lodge their formal objection to the Waste Levy imposed by the NSW Government at a meeting this week between MIDGOC and the NSW Environment Minister, Robyn Parker.
The Waste Levy was introduced in the early 1990's and currently provides the State Government with around $368 million in taxes. With plans to increase the levy next year MIDGOC members are incensed that the Government has continually failed to provide details of the distribution of funds to waste education and recycling initiatives.
According to MIDGOC Chairman, Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhodes, the levy has caused confusion for ratepayers with many blaming Council's for the increase without understanding the NSW Governments role.
"Most MIDGOC councils have reported an increase in illegal dumping since the levy was bought in. This creates a double whammy for ratepayers as not only are they paying the levy they may ultimately pay more in fees to fund the recovery of illegally dumped waste.
"It is estimated the councils in MIDGOC will pay a collective levy of $5 million this year and obviously more when it increases next year. This is a significant injection into state funding and on behalf of our communities we have a right to know what it's being spent on," said Mayor Rhodes. The levy which is currently $31.10 per tonne will increase to around $42 per tonne on 1st July.
At the meeting this week the MIDGOC councils intend to raise the belief that it is not a waste levy, as a levy suggests that the funds raised are used to totally benefit improved waste management behaviour and practices.
"This levy is in fact a tax to raise money for other government provided services. The community blames councils for increasing the tipping fees, when it is in fact the State Government that has caused the fees to rise.
"While we are somewhat sympathetic to the incoming governments funding black hole that would result if the levy was removed we are united in our resolve to have this tax removed and not have our communities unfairly slugged," said Mayor Rhodes.