Rocky council candidates talk garbage and waste disposal
THERE’S only three days remaining in the 2020 Local Government Election campaign.
We’ve quizzed the contenders for the roles of mayor and councillor in Rockhampton Regional Council on the following question:
Do you have any plans to improve the region’s waste collection and management?
MARGARET STRELOW: I’m keen to see Rockhampton a leader in reuse and recycling through our waste collection processes.
And to work with community to see a reduction in what we send to the landfill.
Did you know that every toothbrush you’ve ever used still exists? We need to find a balanced pathway towards reducing our collective footprint on this precious earth. Council has some runs on the board already but we can and should do more.
CHRIS HOOPER: Waste costs us close to 10 per cent of the budget, which is roughly $20 million. If people work together to reduce their waste we could save money on our rate bill.
The dump compound could be a major training area for the unemployed to learn skills in the whole area of recycling including green waste and timber.
All containers should have a monetary value.
If we recycle everything and use our ning nong the dump could be a thriving business.
Surely there are some smart people out there who could give the unemployed a leg up.
CHERIE RUTHERFORD: Council has recently adopted a Regional Waste Strategy which aims to achieve zero-waste by 2050. This is the first step which enables us to bring the community on board to help drive change and the way we think about waste. I’m sure as new technology arises the time frame for achieving this goal will be reduced. Council has also rolled out waste collection services to rural areas with an ongoing program to expand this service. We have also introduced recycling into the rural waste transfer stations which has been extremely successful with the rural communities having the lowest contamination rate in the Region.
PETER ANDERSON: If rural residents take their waste to the Rockhampton Waste Facility there should be a discount. This will reduce the amount of waste taken to the rural transfer stations. We should also be using sections of quarries or mines for our waste that can’t be recycled.
DONNA KIRKLAND: I have had excellent input from residents on this topic including bringing back an annual one day curbside pickup.
Most highly discussed is the lack of understanding residents feel they have around charges, levies and free services.
Education is the key. I am looking forward to having the opportunity in council to investigate any areas where waste costs can be reduced to ratepayers.
Rockhampton Waste disposal is actually well advanced, working towards a circular system embracing state of the art recycling techniques.
I also would like to ensure we continue spearheading grants that will afford staffing and CCTV to catch serial illegal dumping.
NEIL FISHER: The Rockhampton Region has become a leader in Regional Queensland’s waste management. And am very proud to have championed this waste direction.
With the Lakes Creek Landfill’s new Piggy Back extension, life of the landfill has been extended at least 40 years and will capture landfill gases to generate power.
Increased collections services and two new Transfer Stations have been constructed during this term and the Recycle Right education program is starting.
Our Waste Strategy dovetails with the state legislation and positions us to become a Recycling Hub. Capitalising on future waste and recycling opportunities like Organics (FOGO) and Solar Panel Recycling.
SHERRIE ASHTON: The Rockhampton Waste Facility is impressive and I understand has been leading the way for decades.
RRC have a great education program in the works ready to roll out to help members of the public better understand how to recycle.
I know the staff have already spoken to seniors groups and others.
I’m looking forward to getting into council to learn more about what’s already being done and to help with the education process to help reduce landfill.
Cost reduction in this area is up to the ratepayer to make the effort to recycle properly.
NOELEEN HORAN: We all have a role to play in creating a less wasteful society so let’s look at ways to reduce our home waste before it gets to landfill.
A home composting program would educate the community and encourage residents to reduce food waste and to pay more attention to the environment. People say “fees are too high” which increases illegal dumping. I don’t believe reducing fees would encourage everyone to use the tip, given the apparent laziness.
In some of the high problem areas the introduction of CCTV and strict fines would surely encourage people to make better choices.
SHANE LATCHAM: The Rockhampton Council has an opportunity to use proceeds from State Government imposed $70/tonne waste levy to develop new and emerging recycling services such as using food and garden waste (FOGO – Food Organic, Garden Organic) into bio-fuels.
A partnership with Central Qld University has the potential to explore bio-fuels that may be applied in rural settings and create other business and local employment opportunities.
The Lakes Creek landfill has 40-80 years of life left; which enables a substantial cost saving to the council. Therefore, the council could offer free kerbside pickup annually to allow residents to clean up their yards.
DREW WICKERSON: Rockhampton Regional Council leads the way with excellent waste management and recycling. I would encourage everyone to read the RRC Waste Strategy 2020-2030 for a comprehensive answer to this question. The basic principals, that will only be achieved through community ownership and participation are to REDUCE the amount of packaging we purchase, REUSE products in innovative ways and to RECYCLE leaving minimal “waste” that may be able to be converted to energy.
Council continues to lead by example by significantly reducing single use plastics at all events and functions. I will actively support initiatives currently being considered to collect and compost all organic waste.
ELLEN SMITH: We have expanded our waste services to many rural and rural residential areas not previously serviced.
We have also opened two new transfer stations at Bajool and Bushley, as well as upgrading the Alton Downs Waste facility. We have actively encouraged recycling, and residents have embraced it well.
The only other thing left to introduce is the third bin for green waste, which has been considered over the years.
However, we decided to go down the track of allowing free dumping of green waste. Our Regional Waste and Recycling Department works very efficiently to keep our region clean and tidy.