Garry Turland wants EPA to pay council back for waste levy charges

Councillor Garry Turland wants the EPA to pay back millions of dollars he believes it owes Wingecarribee Shire Council.

Council pays a metropolitan rate for its EPA waste levy.

The metropolitan rate is almost 74 per cent more than the regional rate.

For 2017-18 the metropolitan levy is $138.20 per tonne and the regional levy is $79.60 per tonne.

Cr Turland said the Wingecarribee Shire should be charged a regional rate.

He said millions of dollar that had been paid to the EPA could have been better spent in the shire fixing infrastructure such as roads.

“I’m demanding we get paid back,” he said.

Cr Turland said all that was needed was for someone to “tick a box” and put the Wingecarribee Shire in the right zone.

“Some bureaucrat has put us in the wrong zone. We’re wasting millions a year in that fee. That’s not good enough.”

Of the shire’s neighbouring councils, Wollondilly is charged a regional rate while Goulburn does not pay a waste levy.

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) requires certain licensed waste facilities in NSW to pay a contribution for each tonne of waste received at the facility.

The waste levy applies to the Illawarra and Hunter regions, the central and north coast local government areas to the Queensland border as well as the Blue Mountains, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly areas.

An EPA spokesperson said the Wingecarribee had been part of the levy paying area since 1996-97 when there were two levy paying areas in NSW- the Sydney Metropolitan Area and the Extended Regulated Area.

A third levy area, the Regional Regulated Area, was introduced in 2008 which included Wollondilly.

“In 2013-14 the Sydney Metropolitan Area and Extended Regulated Area were combined and renamed the Metropolitan Levy Area and the Regional Regulated Area was renamed as the Regional Levy Area,” they said.”

“Wingecarribee then became part of the Metropolitan Levy Area, while Wollondilly remained in the Regional Levy Area.”

A council spokesman said the issue was one it had approached the EPA about.

“Council has sought clarification from the EPA on this rating system. Council’s previous affiliation with the Southern Councils Group (IROC) which included the metro-based councils of Wollongong and Shellharbour may be the likely rationale why the EPA charges Wingecarribee the same.

The council spokesman said all EPA solid waste charges for the Resource Recovery Centre were based on metropolitan rates.

Cr Turland said he hoped state members Jai Rowell and Pru Goward would assist council in this matter.