Central Highlands introduced tip fees for Lochlees
THE Central Highlands Regional Council will introduce dump fees at its Lochlees and Blackwater facilities in an attempt to recover more than $500,000 dollars annually.
Mayor Peter Maguire said the cost recovery measure was designed to shift the price burden from urban ratepayers who would be exempt from paying at the tip gate.
"It's about sharing the cost burden with everyone who uses the facility," Cr Maguire said.
"At the moment, the commercial and industrial (businesses) don't pay anything."
A report tabled at the last council meeting detailed 200 tonnes of general waste and 74 tonnes of construction and demolition waste were dumped at the Lochlees facility in two months, with no cost recovery to the council.
Processing the material, the report stated, exceeded $500,000 per annum for the council.
Small businesses such as Pete Mason's start-up venture Maso's Mowing must wait to discover what impact the dump fees will have on their bottom line.
Mr Mason said any additional operational costs on his nine-month-old business would force him to up his prices, putting added pressure on his customers, many of whom are pensioners.
"I don't know what the fees will be yet and what the impact will be, but any extra costs will have to be passed on to my customers," Mr Mason said.
"I can understand why the council is doing it, but it is a bit concerning."
Cr Maguire yesterday said green waste would continue to be dumped for free at the various landfill sites in the Central Highlands.
But the report showed about 10,000 cubic metres of processed green waste was generated every quarter at the Lochlees station, with no cost recovery to the council.
It will be another anxious wait for not-for-profit organisations such as the Emerald CWA which uses mowing services to ensure the business premises is kept presentable.
"It costs us about $55 a month which isn't much, but if that increases, it will have an impact," CWA treasurer Carol Ferguson said.
Cr Maguire said an increase in recycling would likely reduce the dump fees
"If we can get commercial and industrial people to start recycling, that should mean a less amount they have to pay to take stuff to the dump," he said.
The new fees will start on April 2.
Lochlees fees per tonne:
Commercial and industrial waste: $130
General mine waste: $130
Minimum fee: $20