Recycling fee hike tops forecast

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Mayor reveals a foreseen increase to fees is set to be higher than first thought as Bunbury’s recycling contractor tries to recover revenue.
Camera IconMayor reveals a foreseen increase to fees is set to be higher than first thought as Bunbury’s recycling contractor tries to recover revenue. Credit: Graphic / South Western Times

A recycling fee hike on Bunbury ratepayers will be higher than anticipated as another rate rise looms for the city’s property owners.

Mayor Gary Brennan revealed the foreseen increase to fees is set to be higher than first thought as the city’s recycling contractor tries to recover revenue in the wake of China’s ban on foreign waste.

Earlier this year, Mr Brennan said the increase was likely to equate to about $10 extra a year, per household.

But Mr Brennan this week said it was likely to be even higher.

“To be honest, we’re not going to be happy about imposing an increase in our recycling waste charges but we have no alternative,” Mr Brennan said.

“The increases are going to be much higher than we would normally impose on our community, but I just hope the community understands that this is driven by international market constraints, particularly the Chinese market.

“That creates a problem for our contractor who then need to find alternative markets for that and if they can’t, they have to dispose of it to the best of their ability.

“So obviously their return on their investment has shrunk significantly — they’ve had an open book with us, we know exactly what the costs and the revenue is for Bunbury’s waste and that level of openness has left us in a comfortable position.”

Mr Brennan said he could not reveal the exact increase, but it would be higher than first thought and it was expected to be shown in Bunbury City Council’s proposed fees and charges schedule at a briefing session this week.

But the fee was not listed in the 2019-20 schedule with Mr Brennan saying yesterday it would actually be included in budget documents.

“We’re not hiding anything ... once we have that increase clarified, I’ll be making that very public before we adopt the budget,” Mr Brennan said.

“I clarified that with the staff just before the briefing last night (Tuesday) and they reminded me that is included in the actual budget document.”

It comes as the council is finalising its 2019-20 budget, expected to include a rate rise about 3 per cent.

“I want to reconfirm with our community, we still take rate increases very seriously and we look at all elements around affordability,” Mr Brennan said.

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