Recycling cost to hit home

Latrobe City ratepayers will have to cough-up another $27 a year for kerbside rubbish removal, adding another blow to battling landowners, according to local support groups.

The charge was announced in council’s 2018-19 draft budget released last week.

Twenty dollars of this rise covers China’s ban on importing Australia’s recycling, as local governments scramble to deal with increasing amounts of stockpiling waste.

A spokesperson for Quantum Support Services said the overall cost of living was already a major concern for people struggling to maintain their homes due to stagnant wages.

“Rate rises can cause a flow-on effect to people already on fixed or low incomes who own their own homes. For those renting, a rate rise may be passed on to tenants through rent increases,” the spokeswoman said.

“It all adds to the increasing financial pressure felt by many households.”

The 2016 Census data showed 9.5 per cent of Latrobe Valley residents were suffering rent-stress, and 4.8 per cent of households were battling mortgage stress.

Latrobe City Council Mayor Darrell White said costs must increase for Latrobe to continue to provide kerbside services.

“However, we believe the draft budget balances out this unavoidable increase in fees with a continuation of the provision of significant capital investment in our city,” Cr White said.

The rubbish charge increase of eight per cent exceeds the average 2.25 per cent rate increase.

However, garbage charges are considered to be a fee for service and are separate to the rate capping process.

A Latrobe City spokeswoman said council encouraged residents to recycle as usual as collection services continued.

She said the state government had covered some of the costs this financial year but any increases after that would be reflected in the garbage charge.

“Our contractors have continued to collect and dispose of our recycling through their usual methods. However, they are not receiving any revenue for disposing of the items,” she said.

“The increase to the garbage charge aims to redress this impact on our contractors so that they can continue to deliver this much needed service for the community.”

Locals can make a submission into the 2018-19 draft budget.

Latrobe City Council will hold a community information session at its corporate headquarters in Morwell on Monday, April 16 from 5.30 to 7pm.