Townsville will lead a campaign to secure State Government subsidies to assist northern communities struggling with the rising costs of kerbside recycling services.
The Townsville City Council will take a motion to next month’s North Queensland Local Government Association seeking support from other councils in the region for the call for subsidies.
Northern councils are faced with increases in recycling costs as a result of a crash in prices for recycled commodities and higher charges to process and transport products to the nearest markets in Brisbane.
Environment and Sustainability Committee chairman Cr Vern Veitch said the Whitsunday Regional Council had already decided to discontinue its kerbside recycling service and instead fund other environmental projects.
“The cost of recycling in a region located so far away from the nearest markets is placing increasing financial pressure on councils in the north,” Cr Veitch said.
“Councils are being asked to pay more to recycling contractors to process materials as a result of falling returns and the burden of transportation costs.
“All councils are subject to the commodities crash but southern councils don’t have the same impost of transportation costs as we do in the north. In Townsville about 90 per cent of the fee we pay to the recycling contractor goes on transporting material to Brisbane.
“There should be a more equitable arrangement that equalises transport costs for disadvantaged councils, and that can be achieved by a State Government subsidy.
“This would reduce the burden on ratepayers who ultimately pay the cost of the service. The reality is that without Government assistance we will have to pay more for the service or rethink how we recycle.”
A full meeting of council approved a motion to go to the NQROC conference requesting the Local Government Association of Queensland lobby the State Government to subside the transport cost of kerbside recycled commodities.
Townsville’s kerbside recycling service currently costs ratepayers around $2.75 million a year which includes the use of Council resources to collect bins, and the cost of contractor Visy to process the material.
Each month Visy processes 1,100 tonnes of material of which around 11 per cent is general waste and the rest a mix of paper, plastics, aluminium, steel and glass.