Following the tabling of a community petition at a general council meeting this month, two extra positions will be recruited to assist with additional opening hours at Central Highlands waste facilities.
Manager Planning and Environment Kirstin Byrne said this was a short-term solution while council’s long-term waste strategy is developed.
‘After the introduction of the Queensland Waste Levy on 1 July 2019, council were required to put in place waste disposal controls across all our waste facilities,’ she said.
‘To assist us in fulfilling our monitoring and reporting obligations under the state levy, 24/7 access was no longer an option so manned opening hours had to be brought in and CCTV cameras installed.
‘Significant community consultation was undertaken as part of the transition and following community feedback changes were made to the hours at several of our facilities in line with user needs.
‘But it takes time to trial changes like this and sometimes things just don’t work.
‘Earlier this month, the Capella community submitted a petition to council with their preferred operating hours, prompting us to review our options.’
Ms Byrne said things like budget, delivery costs, technology, staffing and environmental impacts all had to be taken into consideration, as well as ensuring service levels across the region remain fair and proportionate.
‘The goal of the levy is to reduce waste to landfill, and that is still something we want to work with the state government to achieve,’ she said.
‘Increased hours are convenient, but they do little to encourage the community to manage their waste generation. It’s a delicate balancing act of practicality, legal obligations, and sustainability, but we will work through this as we develop our waste strategy.
‘We also recognise the community’s frustrations and the need for a short-term fix. Recruitment is underway for two extra resource recovery attendants and we are liaising with our community reference groups in Duaringa, Bluff, the Gemfields, Capella, Rolleston and Springsure to discuss what’s going to work and where. We have to make sure it’s fair across the board.’
‘We have listened and will keep listening,’ she said.