CITY ratepayers could pay smaller landfill levies should their waste go to rural tips including the proposed site at Leongatha South.
Gippsland South MP Danny O’Brien raised the issue in Parliament recently and will do so again when he tables a petition signed by 1000 people opposed to the Leongatha South plans.
If approved, the facility, to be operated by Veolia, would be filled with waste from metropolitan Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.
“As Gippslanders we understand the need for waste facilities, and we accept the need to deal with our own waste, however I have concerns as to why Gippsland should become Melbourne’s dumping ground,” Mr O’Brien said.
“This is an issue that is causing a great amount of angst for the community.
“This petition has only been circulating for a month or so and has already been signed by more than 1000 locals concerned about the effect this dump will have on the local environment and roads.
“I’m told there’s already a further 600 signatures on additional petitions with more to come.
“Well done to the Dump The Dump group for coordinating the petitions and opposition to this proposal.”
Mr O’Brien questioned the Minister for Environment Lisa Neville on whether rubbish from Melbourne dumped in Leongatha would attract a lower landfill levy as opposed to if it was dumped in Melbourne.
Mr O’Brien said landfill levies were paid on all rubbish disposed at licensed landfills and provided an incentive to minimise waste and develop alternatives to dumping rubbish in landfill.
“Rubbish in Melbourne attracts a landfill levy of about $60 per tonne, but for South Gippsland Shire it is about $30 per tonne,” Mr O’Brien said.
“If a levy of just $30 is paid on the rubbish trucked into South Gippsland, it will result in losses to the state of nearly $6 million per annum, or at least $90 million over the life of the project. This cost could double if levy prices continue to inflate at the existing rate.
“The Environment Minister needs to explain whether this perverse incentive to dumping Melbourne’s rubbish in the beautiful farming country of South Gippsland will be allowed.
“If so it will be at the cost to South Gippsland, Victorian taxpayers, and the environment which benefits from the proceeds of landfill levies.”
Simon Helps from Dump the Dump said if the city levy is cut, millions of dollars will be diverted away from research and technology.
“The city levy is higher to discourage landfill and to fund alternative treatments.
“For Veolia, the difference is enough to make it viable to truck the waste all the way out to the country for the same net cost.
“The industry misses out because there’s less money to fund new technology for new waste treatment.
“This is a state-wide issue, not specific to Leongatha. Horsham, Bendigo, Ballarat could also potentially be affected.”
Wendy Reed from Dump the Dump said local support for the campaign is building.
“Once we reach our next target of another 1000 signatures, Danny will once again present them to the Legislative Assembly.”
Ms Reed said Veolia could lodge an application for a planning permit with the South Gippsland Shire Council any day.
She said ‘Dump the Dump’ is preparing to commence a fundraising appeal to pay for legal fees that are likely, regardless of any council decision.
She urges concerned resident to start to prepare their own letters of objection.
“Once Veolia starts the planning process, the ‘clock will start to tick’ and time will be of the essence.
“You won’t have a voice at council or at VCAT if you don’t participate in the planning process, so please start to think about what your concerns are and how you would like to express this when the time comes to write your letter of objection.”