Eaglehawk tip fees defended

THE City of Greater Bendigo says the rising issue of illegal dumping can’t be put down to an increase in tip fees.

The council has called for a wider community approach to tackling issues of waste and the increasing amount of rubbish being abandoned in state forests around the region.

A Waste and Resource Management Strategy the council has been developing over the past year is set to unveil new measures to combat waste and deal with rubbish and recycling in the future.

City of Greater Bendigo director of presentation and assets Darren Fuzzard said waste posed an “enormous issue”.

With a bill of $16 million each year, it represented the city’s biggest budget item, Mr Fuzzard said.

“What we’re looking at is trying to figure out how we reduce the amount of waste in the first place. We’re open to a raft of suggestions,” he said.

Mr Fuzzard said there was no evidence to show tip fees were linked to any increase in dumping.

He said fees had gone up steadily over recent years.

 A rise in EPA levies introduced last financial year pushed up prices at the Eaglehawk and Heathcote landfills to $1.50 per bag of rubbish and $10 per computer or television monitor.

“The costs have gone up and will continue to go up – the state government have made no apologies for raising landfill levies,” Mr Fuzzard said.

“But in the 2011-12 financial year we actually had a decrease in the amount of complaints for illegal dumping. What we’ve got is a small group of people who think it’s OK to dump.”

Mr Fuzzard said hard rubbish collections could be a part of alternative measures introduced to help manage waste.

He said this was among a number of suggestions the council was given in feedback from a recent resident survey.

“It’s certainly something we want to investigate with people,” he said. “If it’s something the community are calling for, then it’s something we want to consider.”

The survey showed 63 per cent of people want hard rubbish collection introduced in Bendigo, but 51 per cent of people said they didn’t want to pay for it.

Mr Fuzzard said he was hoping for more community input on the Waste and Resource Management Strategy before a draft was put to councillors in February.

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