Monash Council is disappointed with the Essential Services Commission decision to approve only a slight rate cap variation of 0.32%, bringing the rate to 2.57% for 2018/19, rather than the 3.53% Council had sought.
Council had applied to the ESC to vary its rate from the State Government’s rate cap of 2.25% in the wake of China’s ban on receiving some recycled materials.
The ban has resulted in recycling companies no longer offering a rebate to Councils, as they have in the past, with Councils now required to pay for processing recycling. The net cost of recycling to Monash Council is $1.5 million a year, as Council will no longer receive a payment from our recycling company for our recycling materials.
Monash Mayor Paul Klisaris said the ESC’s proposed rate variation would barely scratch the surface of the increased costs Council would bear, and failed to consider Council’s limited choices in meeting the unexpected costs it had taken on in the wake of the recycling crisis.
Cr Klisaris said Council did not support the ESC’s position that the costs incurred by Monash Council for recycling could only be short-term.
“It is our view that the recycling landscape has changed significantly and Councils, and the community, will continue to incur high costs for these essential services,” Cr Klisaris said.
“Monash Council has limited choices in how it can make up this unexpected cost as unlike many other Councils, we do not have a separate waste charge that can be adjusted to meet this unexpected increase.
“The decision by the ESC means we will now have to reluctantly consider whether we now need to introduce a limited waste charge.
“This is not a decision we take lightly and one we had hoped we wouldn’t have to make. However, the recycling landscape has now changed and we have to raise funds for this essential service,” he said.
“We have for many years been the lowest rating Council and have been debt free since 2015. We are prudent about spending but also know that it’s important to our community that we continue to improve infrastructure like reserves, playspaces and community centres.
“We need to find the funds to cover the $1.5 million cost and that means Council is forced to now consider the introduction of this charge.”
If introduced, a waste charge would be applied to all ratepayers at an average cost of around $20 a year. Council will also consider how any waste charge, if introduced, would impact on pensioners as part of its consideration.
Media Contact: Jo Robertson 0418 391 979 or email JoanneR@monash.vic.gov.au