Trash talk could cost cash
THE carbon tax may not immediately hit the Gympie council in the hip pocket, but it seems to be a case of when, not if, residents will have to pay more to get rid of their rubbish.
All indicators are that Gympie Regional Council's carbon output will come in under the threshold that triggers the carbon tax, which comes into effect on July 1, meaning the council will not have to pay a direct tax and will not have to recoup that tax from its residents.
It's a different situation on the Sunshine Coast, where the population is braced for a raft of new charges when the council there brings down its 2012-13 budget, including price increases for wheelie bins and a trip to the tip.
Gympie mayor Ron Dyne said the carbon tax itself would have no immediate impact on waste disposal fees here, but some rises at some time could not be ruled out.
A comprehensive study is underway on the region's landfill and transfer stations to ensure our facilities comply with the requirements to minimise or avoid the carbon tax, Cr Dyne said.
The council was earlier this week briefed by Local Government Infrastructure Services on waste strategies that would reduce and reuse waste, as well as recycling, waste treatment and landfill gas capture and treatment.
Councillor Mick Curran, who holds the rubbish portfolio, said infrastructure work was needed at Bonnick Rd to extend the life of the facility, though it was hard to say just how many years or decades into the future it would satisfy the needs of Gympie.
Preliminary works were already underway.
Expanding the facility would cost the council money, which meant it would at some point cost residents money.
"Because of the carbon tax we have got to be very strategic about what goes into our landfill," Cr Curran said.
"The reality is the more stuff that goes in the more likely it is we will be having a carbon tax payment."
Apart from developing strategies to minimise the future impact of the carbon tax on council, the LGIS predicted the "numbers, figures and time frames as to when we will come into carbon tax figuration".
"This will all be influenced by the type of waste that goes into our landfill, the management of the facility, and the consultants will no doubt guide council so we can plan our future waste management strategy so there is minimal impact on ratepayers," Cr Curran said.