Rural landfill operators will be able to work at higher standards through state government funding to improve infrastructure.
The Victorian Government has released a $3.5 million package consisting of a funding program Transition Support to Improve Rural Landfill for $3 million.
Remaining funds of $500000 are for the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) to conduct a financial and environmental risk assessment.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith said the transition funding will help alleviate immediate concerns of councils and offset the costs of meeting higher standards.
“The EPA will work closely with local governments and communities to better explain the environmental imperative to meet landfill management requirements,” Mr Smith said.
According to the Victorian Government, landfill operators can apply for one-off funding of up to $250000 per site covering costs of protective geomembranes, used to prevent leaks, as well as associated testing, installation and auditing of the lining.
“This funding will save money for ratepayers as landfill operators will no longer need to pass on this initial cost for the protective geomembranes,” Mr Smith said.
Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) president, Bill McArthur said the state’s investment recognised the funding constraints facing rural communities and would ease rural shires’ rising waste management costs.
“In rural and regional areas, councils and no choice but to provide landfill services for disposal of municipal waste, as there are few commercial providers,” Mr McArthur said.
Mr McArthur said rural shires have reported considerable strain on council budgets to meet the higher standards from the EPA to manage and rehabilitee landfills and the rising landfill levy.
According to Mr McArthur, costs to build landfills or landfill cells are 30 to 40 per cent higher, resulting in up to millions of dollars extra for rural communities.
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