‘China crisis’ forces rise
RATEPAYERS across Kingston face a rise in charges for recycling after China banned almost all recycling materials previously sold to China from Australia.
Any items with a plastics or paper component of just 0.5 per cent can no longer be sent to China as part of that country’s push to stop “foreign rubbish” imports.
Kingston councillors voted at a special meeting held on Monday 13 May to discuss council’s draft budget and decided to pass on a $25 increase annually for each household in the municipality.
Council CEO John Nevins said the draft budget had originally forecast “a minor increase of $13 per property” but this had risen to $31 per household.
Councillors voted on Monday to absorb $6 of the rise per household and pass on a $25 increase instead.
“Unfortunately the ongoing volatility in the recycling market means that local governments are now facing greater costs than first expected with Kingston facing increased costs of approximately $31 per household to ensure the recycling service can continue,” Mr Nevins said.
“While many councils are passing on the increases in full to ratepayers, Kingston Council has decided to share the burden of the increased recycling costs and will pay $6 per household and pass on the remaining $25 increase. As a result, Kingston Council has reissued its advertised draft budget to reflect this change.”
The CEO said council will now look at making $400,000 in annual savings across its budget to fund the $6 absorption.
Councils across Victoria are being forced to increase recycling charges as the China crisis begins to bite in the recycling chain.
The charge is separate to rates and is not capped under the Labor state government’s rate capping policy introduced in 2016.
Rates are capped at a limit calculated using the consumer price index annual rise as a benchmark.
Neighbouring Frankston Council last month flagged a $38 annual rise for its ratepayers.
Councils can apply to the Essential Services Commission for an exemption to increase rates above the cap in “exceptional circumstances”.
Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg met state environment ministers in Melbourne late last month to discuss how Australia can avoid a recycling pile-up on its shores.
Mr Frydenberg announced after the meeting the federal government will work with state governments to try to make almost all packaging reusable or compostable by 2025.