Crunch time as council considers third bin proposal

The debate around the future of Dubbo’s waste services is set to come to a head on Monday evening when the issue comes before Dubbo Regional Council (DRC)’s Works and Services Committee.

Subject to the acceptance by council of a tender for the Regional Waste Services Contract, the committee will consider a report recommending council expand the service levels to a two bin service for villages and rural areas and a three bin service for the urban areas of Dubbo, Wellington, Geurie, Brocklehurst and Wongarbon.

The proposed cost for the two bin service (comprising a weekly mixed waste and a fortnightly recycling) is $308 and the three bin service (weekly organic waste, fortnightly mixed waste and fortnightly recycling) is $378, with the prices to be harmonised across the local government area.

Households wishing to maintain their weekly mixed waste service would pay an additional $40 per year.

Currently, Dubbo’s two bin service costs $294.96 and Wellington’s single bin service costs $347.

DRC manager for Infrastructure and Solid Waste Steve Clayton said the service proposal was more than five years in the making, after council worked through planning, a trial, community engagement, and secured $4.6 million in grant funding to collect and process the waste.

“All the information gathered through this process has been used to put together a service proposal that is considered will meet the needs of the community as well as best position council’s waste management capability, at the least cost, well into the future,” Mr Clayton said.

The matter is expected to be finalised at council’s ordinary meeting on Monday, July 24.

Former deputy mayor Ben Shields urged administrator Michael Kneipp to delay the decision until after council elections in September.

“It’s a shameful proposal,” Mr Shields said. “They do not have a democratic mandate to behave like this.”

He said claims the organics processing plant would generate up to $40 million for Dubbo’s economy over 10 years were “hogwash”.

“They’re sucking money out of Dubbo, out of ratepayers so the idea that it’s putting money into Dubbo is a false economy,” he said.

Members of the public are welcome to attend Monday’s meeting from 5.30pm, noting that consideration of the actual tender report for the service will be considered as a confidential item.

The third bin proposal was raised two years ago by the then Dubbo City Council. It was opposed by many residents. A decision had not been made before the forced council merger. The Ratepayers’ Association still opposes it and at least 1500 people signed a petition against it.