Mitchell Shire Council has decided to extend tip vouchers that were issued with last year’s rates notice, from September 30, 2021 to December 31, 2021, after fielding complaints.
This month, both the Review and council have heard complaints from residents who said council refused to extend their tip vouchers, despite some resource recovery centres closing to non-essential visits during lockdowns.
Residents expressed frustration, saying their waste at home had been building and some had seen others resort to illegal dumping.
Early last week council told the Review it would not be extending tip vouchers, saying it held significant concerns for the safety of staff and the ongoing ability to keep the resource recovery centres open if the vouchers were extended.
But on Friday that decision was reversed.
“We want to make things as easy as possible for our community through COVID, but we also need to be able to keep our essential waste services open, so we haven’t been in a position to make this decision earlier,” Mitchell Shire chief executive Brett Luxford said.
“With the peak period for fire season preparation coming and with COVID restrictions due to ease slightly in coming weeks as the vaccination targets for the roadmap to reopening are met, now is the right time to announce the extension.”
Council resource recovery centres remain open for essential visits during lockdown. A visit is deemed essential for residents in areas without kerbside collection; residents who need to dispose of ‘putrescible’ rotting food or green waste; and residents who are getting their properties ready for fire season.
For some residents however, the vouchers don’t address the bigger issue of lacking kerbside collection.
“A green waste bin would help, so would a twice yearly curb side rubbish collection. Just like other councils,” Mitchell Shire resident Rachel Summit said.
One resident, Haylie Mason, pointed out that some don’t have the ability or a vehicle to move waste and bring it to a tip, and that hard rubbish would be much safer.
Another resident, Kristy Jackson McGowan, told the Review they would happily pay to use the tip, they just wanted it to be open without restrictions.
“We have three trailer-loads sitting waiting to go and fire season is coming up. It makes it hard to keep things clear and sanitary,” they said.
“It’s also difficult for people in the process of selling houses and moving. Skip hire isn’t always possible, especially now as they are busier than usual.”
People using tips will need to comply with COVIDSafe rules, and people using the Wallan Resource Recovery Centre will also be screened by security guards prior to entry.
Security is in response to an increasing numbers of visitors from neighbouring Hume and Whittlesea council areas where resource recovery centres are closed.