Waste levy a concern in State Budget

Waste levy hits hard

The state government has promised a number of major funding projects for the Eyre Peninsula in this year's state budget including roads, health services, coastlines and schools.

The 2019/20 budget was released on Tuesday, confirming the state government's $6.4 million commitment to ward a $32-million upgrade of Eyre Peninsula roads and $200,000 toward a $1-million project to open Bratten Bridge to road trains.

$4 million will be shared between the state's regional coastal councils to repair and restore their coastlines.

Key health targets in each region have been identified as the state transitions to the new Local Health Network format.

Supporting efforts to recruit and retain general practitioners on the Upper Eyre Peninsula has been identified as a target for 2019/2020, though it is unclear how much funding is budgeted for this exercise.

Councils across the region will also be impacted by a 40 per cent increase in the Solid Waste Levy.

The Solid Waste Levy, which was introduced in 2003, costs regional councils $50 per tonne of landfill but will rise to $60 on July 1 then $70 on January 1, 2020.

The announcement comes after the district councils of Cleve and Kimba have already adopted their budget for the next financial year.

Local Government Association president and Tumby Bay mayor Sam Telfer said it was an "outrage" the state government had launched a "stealth attack" on ratepayers by raising the levy by 40 per cent.

An additional $24.9 million will generated by the rise next year and Mr Telfer said most of the increase would fund the Environment Protection Authority and Department for Environment.

"The best that councils can hope for is to claim a share of the meagre $2.5 million a year on offer to local government and industry to support waste management improvements," he said.

"While councils have been consulting their communities on their 2019/20 budgets, the state government has announced an unprecedented increase in their waste levy that will mean a direct hit to the pocket of every ratepayer.

"The $2.5 million...is a complete farce when you consider councils will be asked to contribute $42.5 million through the levy this coming year."

Mr Telfer said the government should work with councils to make waste and recycling more affordable instead of adding to household costs for South Australians.

Each year the increase will fund $500,000 for a review of the container deposit scheme, $2.5 million for councils and the industry to modernise their waste management procedures and $1 million to fund a regional coastal work grant scheme for councils.

Environment and Water Minister David Speirs said the state government recognised landfill was one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions that were "incredibly harmful" to the climate.

He said the increase would lead to less waste sent to landfill, a reduction in emissions and potentially more than 200 jobs.

"We need to send a strong message that more needs to be done to reduce these damaging emissions and that councils need to have the tools to divert more for resource recovery," he said.

"As it stands as much as 40 per cent of the material in our household waste bins sent to landfill is food and organic waste which could be diverted through the organics bin.

"For every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled there are 9.2 full time jobs created compared to 2.8 jobs when sent to landfill."

Mr Speirs said by 2020 the government wanted to see a 35 per cent reduction in waste to landfill compared to 2003 figures.