The City of Boroondara today called on the Victorian Government to end multi-million dollar diversions of the ratepayer-funded landfill levy by insisting funds go to minimise waste and promote investment in new technologies as intended.
To ensure that a line is drawn on further misspending, I have called for a moratorium on future waste levy fees until the $466 million already collected is spent and properly accounted for.
Victoria’s Auditor-General Andrew Greaves has confirmed what Boroondara and other Councils have complained to State Government about it for years -- our waste to landfill levies are being hijacked.
These are funds intended to establish waste management infrastructure to support programs for industry and education programs and to resource those bodies responsible for waste planning and management in Victoria.
The Victorian Government needs to encourage innovation and new 21st century ideas and technology to minimise dig and ditch waste disposal.
Instead, funds have been diverted from recycling and other ‘going green’ projects to, as examples, a new Parks Victoria website and database ($8 million), to restructure the Environmental Protection Authority ($21million) or, most incredulously, to do nothing at all.
Victoria’s Auditor-General has found that in the past five years the waste levy fund has swelled by 300 percent to $466 million and will exceed up to $531 million by the end of the current financial year.
Our homeowners and businesses did their part through a $2.5 million landfill levy contribution last financial year and only received a welcomed but modest $300,000 grant for a program on behalf of four councils to promote the inclusion of flexible plastics in recycling bins.
This is simply not good enough. To emphatically make that point, we will be writing and lobbying the Premier Daniel Andrews and the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio to demand that our ratepayers get a fairer return from their landfill levy.
Council waste minimisation programs, sustainability projects, infrastructure and closed landfill rehabilitation are just a few ideas we offer to those struggling to find any.
Cr Phillip Healey