Union members rally outside City Hall yesterday afternoon. Workers are angry about the possibility of a private contractor collecting garbage across Rockhampton.
Union members rally outside City Hall yesterday afternoon. Workers are angry about the possibility of a private contractor collecting garbage across Rockhampton. ALLAN REINIKKA AR

Garbage workers fear for jobs

ABOUT 50 council workers rallied outside City Hall yesterday afternoon angered by a move to look at bringing in a private contractor to do Rockhampton’s garbage collection.

Australian Workers Union Rockhampton organiser Peter Ward said garbage collection had been done in the city by council workers, in council-owned trucks for the past 100 years.

Currently council supplies the collection service in Rockhampton, but contracts out at Mt Morgan, Gracemere and on the Capricorn Coast.

With these contracts set to expire soon, it is considering its options.

“Employees are proud to have delivered this service and are furious at the prospect of their jobs being contracted out,” Mr Ward said.

“The workforce is aware contractors do assist council with certain projects; however, a line has to be drawn to say enough is enough.”

He said the community didn’t want a poorer quality service.

“Whether or not it’s cheaper to run a service with a contract, there is also the question of quality of service,” Mr Ward said.

“Council has control over the customer service levels.

“The service offered by council employees collecting garbage ensures any rubbish dropped is picked up on the run.

“The service offered sees the operators do walk-in collection.

“This is when a person is frail or unable to put the bin out the operator walks in and gets the bin out, empties it and puts it back.

“The service sees the bins with broken wheels repaired on the spot.

“Contractors are there to make a profit for the shareholders. They often have to cut corners and are in a rush to get the run completed.

“One only has to take a drive over the Razorback to Mt Morgan to come across the contractor’s bins overflowing with filth and surrounded by the vermin it attracts.”

A council statement responding to Mr Ward’s claims said council had a responsibility under the Local Government Act to provide efficient and effective services for its ratepayers.

“If council decides to contract out Rockhampton’s waste collection service it would be a decision based on achieving the best quality of the service delivery while being cost-effective to ratepayers,” the statement said.

“Currently 75% of council’s waste collection is contracted out – these contracts are due to expire which has provided an opportunity for council to review its service delivery options.

“If council decides to contract out this service it will go out to tender and the most appropriate provider selected.

“Unfortunately, this is another example of Mr Ward not having his facts correct and not having the courtesy of discussing them with council before engaging in public debate.”

Regarding the Mt Morgan roadside bin, the statement said: “All roadside bins are currently collected by contractors; however, the waste outside the bin is not the contractor’s responsibility. It is in fact the responsibility of the public and a misuse of this service, which council is investigating.”

Meanwhile, Mr Ward said council workers also rallied over an industrial issue to pay a site allowance to certain workers.

Do you think council should look at bringing in a private contractor to do Rockhampton’s garbage collection? Tell us what you think, leave your comments below...



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