LETTERS 10.7.21

This rubbish is now a farce

THE farce that is Vincent’s jettisoning of commercial waste collection is coming to a head with council refusing to step in, and the staff channelling Yes Minister.

Despite staff saying they would look at extending the residential FOGO system to eligible businesses they neglected to tell the businesses.

It was only in late May that they put something on their website, but it had no details and no costs.

They also told the council that every business had been visited and had a face-to-face meeting.

When I checked with businesses the responses I got were along the lines of “he was like a disinterested uni student who couldn’t answer my questions”.

Which brings us to the cost of the micro-business service which the staff had previously said would be based on a full cost recovery basis. They decided to charge $699 plus an $80 administration fee even though they worked out that in 2019 that the current waste collection system costs $336.99, and councils like Bayswater are charging about $360 for their three-bin system. 

When challenged they simply said they had benchmarked the charge against other local governments. 

Rather than looking for the best and trying to better it, they seem to be looking for the worst, and accepting it.

Exccessive charging

To their credit the council did drop this to $520 but this is still demonstrably more than it actually costs the city.

The main outcome for charging this excessive amount will be to discourage businesses from taking up this service. 

I am sure the fact this will mean less work for the staff is an unintended consequence.

This raises the question: Why the cost discrepancy between Vincent and somewhere like Bayswater when the service is pretty straight forward – you pick up the waste and dispose of it?

My guess is that it may be something to do with efficiency and overheads (i.e. too many desk jockeys writing reports rather than doing something useful).

But this wasn’t just about costs. There were supposed to be environmental benefits from having better separation of waste that supposedly only commercial collectors can provide.

In a word – rubbish. I know of one business who has moved to a commercial collector and who now puts everything (landfill, recycling, and a significant amount of organics) into a single skip.  Goodbye recycling, goodbye compost, hello landfill.

All we’ve got from the council are platitudes (we feel your pain), a demonstration of how out of touch they are with the plight of small business, and how unwilling they are to engage with them in a meaningful way. 

Probably what is worse is the immoral intention to continue to charge businesses for a service that will no longer be provided. 

And we’ve got an administration that look, to many, like they are more interested in reducing their workloads and improving their statistics, than in providing a service to their customers.

“We simply said we would offer a service, Minister. We never said it would be affordable or what the businesses needed. Isn’t that right Bernard?”.

Dudley Maier

Tide’s in

MY name is Tide and I’m 10 years old. 

After reading your story “A Rough Winter” about homelessness and hunger that people in my community are facing this winter, I wanted to help. 

I looked online and found some great websites that have volunteering opportunities, including chorus.org. au who provide many community services.

Unfortunately you need to be at least 12 years old to register. 

They suggested that I look up volunteeringwa.org.au. It also had lots of great ways to volunteer, but not many choices for a 10 year old. 

My mum could see my disappointment and suggested I take part in World Vision’s 40 Hour Famine. 

Mum said it was something that she did when she was at school. We looked up the website worldvision. com.au and although they didn’t recommend kids my age fasting, mum suggested that If I replace my meals for a bowl of rice, I could enter. Yay!

I set myself a target to raise $100. I asked my parents, grandparents, cousins, and even my brother to sponsor me. 

I managed to double my target, woohoo! I’m now onto my final bowl of rice for breakfast, and with the thought of something yummy for lunch, I will make it to the finish line. 

This challenge has made me realise how grateful I am to have a warm bed and a full tummy each night. I feel sorry for those people that don’t have these necessities. 

I know the money I’ve raised will make a difference for someone, somewhere in the world. I hope everyone can spare some time, donate some clothing, or sacrifice some food for someone who needs it. 

Tide Robinson

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