Ratepayers bear cost of waste levy
AS Queensland prepares for the introduction of a waste levy, a southeast Council has announced they will be slugging businesses more for their waste service to cover the cost.
The hike was revealed in yesterday's Ipswich Council Budget, where interim administrator Greg Chemello announced a below-inflation residential rate rise of 1.4 per cent.
The council is the latest to increase its commercial waste fees ahead of the levy coming into effect from July 1, with Brisbane and Logan also announcing increased charges in their budgets.
The move will not affect the cost of the council's household waste service, which will remain steady at $361, with no increase from the previous year.
A council spokesman confirmed the extra $61 fee for commercial waste would be charged on a per service basis.
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch yesterday defended the Government's waste levy, insisting that payment of it was "avoidable".
"The Queensland Government is providing more than $7 million as an advance payment to Ipswich City Council, before the waste levy comes into effect on July 1," she said.
"Council are able to spend the extra funds to improve their waste management programs."
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington launched a scathing attack on the levy, warning that businesses would pass on the cost to consumers.
"This is a tax that is going to hurt Queensland households when they try to hire a skip bin," Ms Frecklington said.
"It is going to hurt businesses … that would much prefer to be growing and employing people than paying this insidious tax to the State Labor Government."
Yesterday's $600 million Ipswich Council Budget was the biggest in the city's history, and included a $242 million capital works program for road upgrades, bridge maintenance and the Ipswich Central Redevelopment.
In his speech to the chamber, Mr Chemello also revealed that his team had developed a strategy to "normalise" council rates so that they were more comparable with other southeast councils.
The average residential rates bill will be $1339 in 2019-20.
"The cornerstone of this strategy is a long-term financial plan to progressively and rigorously hold the city's average property rate increases below the Consumer Price Index for at least the next five, possibly seven years," Mr Chemello said.
"I can assure residents that the significant rates decreases from last year does not mean normal services will be cut by council to the Ipswich community," he said.