LGA drafts submission to parliamentary recycling inquiry

The South Australian Local Government Association is drafting a submission to the state parliamentary inquiry into recycling after the 2019-20 state budget revealed a 40 per cent increase in the Solid Waste Levy.

LGA president and Tumby Bay mayor Sam Telfer said a submission was in the draft process pending feedback from councils, which he said would be forced to pass on the increase to ratepayers for the processing of general waste.

"We know that China's National Sword Policy is costing South Australian councils at least $8.8 million a year, putting significant pressures on council budgets," Mr Telfer said.

"Our sector also contributed around $34 million to the government's Solid Waste Levy in 2018-19.

"However, the 40 per cent increase to the Solid Waste Levy announced in this year's state budget will see councils pay $42.5 million to the levy in 2019-20, and $47.5 million in 2020-21.

"Councils need partnership and support from the state government to help shield ratepayers from the increased cost of waste and recycling, and drive downward pressure on rates."

China's National Sword policy introduced in 2017 restricted imported contaminated waste from Australia, although some regional councils were largely unaffected by the ban, already budgeting for higher recycling transport costs.

The LGA's draft submission will go to the board in mid-July before it is submitted by the July 19 deadline.

Eight submissions to the inquiry have already been made, including one from the Streaky Bay District Council.

In the submission, the council's chief executive officer Karina Ewer outlined several issues about the high cost of waste management especially in smaller, rural and regional councils.

"For our council the cost of supporting recycling is enormous....we would like to consider more entrepreneurial frameworks where councils in regions could perhaps specialise in specific recycling business and trade waste between each other to deal with waste management at a regional or even state level," she said.