Nothing but a cash grab: Waste fee outrages residents
HINTERLAND residents are furious after receiving a letter they will be slugged $118 a year for a waste collection service they don't want and many haven't got.
The Sunshine Coast Council sent about 2000 residents across the region letters this week advising of the new "Waste Management Facility Charge".
The letter advises as part of the 2014-15 budget the council endorsed the introduction of the charge "to all habitable properties which do not currently have a waste collection service".
The new charge comes into effect immediately with the new rates account.
It is in addition to the 5% rate increase which was the highest in South-East Queensland.
The decision to impose the fee was made behind closed doors during "budget deliberations" with residents received no prior warning.
Division 10 councillor Greg Rogerson admitted the process was "handled badly" and said he only agreed to the fee on the condition those paying it could receive a service.
This is not a guarantee, with the saying council it "will endeavour to provide a weekly collection service to all properties where possible".
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Cr Rogerson is considering whether to introduce a motion to remove the charge until the service is certain.
He said his office had received "several calls" on the issue.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli has also said the charge should be imposed only if there is a service.
"Provided the new fee comes with the ability for all residents to have a domestic waste collection service, it reflects the standard practice in the majority of councils," he said.
Noosa Council does not charge its residents not receiving the weekly collection service a fee, however those who can have access to a service are charged for a minimum waste collection service.
Moreton Council charges a $107 "Rural Recycling and Waste Management Special Charge" to "assist with meeting the costs associated with the provision and management of recycling and waste disposal facilities".
The Coast council spokeswoman said the fee was introduced to make contributions fair.
"For many years, those already receiving a bin collection service have paid for significant costs to provide waste management to the community, and now the
remaining 1% of ratepayers (2000 properties) will also contribute their share through this fee," she said.
The council came under fire in September last year for introducing a $60 green bin fee with no consultation and in a decision behind closed doors. The fee was revoked two weeks later.
A Maroochy River resident, who only wanted to be known as Dave, was furious after receiving the latest letter.
He said that he recycled most of his rubbish and then paid to take the remainder to the tip several times a year.
"As it is I pay for a public transport levy when I live in area where there is no public transport," Dave said.
"I don't see why I should have to pay for a waste collection service when I don't have, or want, a wheelie bin, as it is my rates have gone up 5%."
Eudlo's "Steve" echoed the same sentiments.
"I have lived here for 15 years and we don't have or use them."
The council spokeswoman advised even residents who already paid for the tip would have to pay the new charge as "that fee does not contribute towards these other significant ongoing regional costs".