Waste threat to carbon neutrality


LAWYERS and an internal governance team helped draw up a newspaper advertisement which appears to contradict a Mornington Peninsula Council decision to close Rye tip by 30 June, 2018.

The advertisement, published on 28 October, stated that the shire was “strongly considering” closing the site – certainly not an accurate reflection of the councillors’ decision.

Without closing the tip and exporting its waste off the peninsula the shire will almost certainly be unable to meet its aim of being “carbon neutral”.

Keeping its waste on the peninsula could also be embarrassing in the wake of the shire being named as one of two Australian municipalities to sign an international Compact of Mayors for its efforts in minimising climate change.   

The official explanation for the non-specific wording of the advertisement states that “strongly considering” closing the tip was consistent with the status of the council’s resolution when advertising for expressions of interest by waste carriers.

“This wording was agreed on as it provided the market confidence that the council was in a position to proceed to contract, contingent on the outcome of the EOI [expression of interest] process as specified in the council recommendation,” renewable resources team leader Jess Wingad said.

The decision to close Rye tip was overturned at council’s 14 December meeting with a 5-4 vote to retain the tip pending an alternative waste technology solution and to investigate dumping waste at Tyabb.

But that decision may not stand beyond this year’s first meeting on 27 January, when councillors will debate a motion to rescind the 14 December decision, which threw into disarray the shire policy to achieve carbon neutrality as quickly as possible.

Retaining shire waste on the peninsula at Tyabb will make it virtually impossible to achieve carbon neutrality.

The gist of discussion at the first meeting was to move waste away from the shire. The phrase “off the peninsula” appeared six times in the officer’s report presented to that meeting.

The October advertisement did not mention this. Ms Wingad: “The requirement to dispose of waste ‘off the Peninsula’ is implied through the resolution as there are no other licenced [sic] landfills on the Mornington Peninsula that can take municipal waste.”

The advertisement does not mention the requirement to move waste off the peninsula, stating only that “provision of a landfill” would be required “for the receipt and disposal of municipal waste”.

Ms Wingad accompanied the mayor Cr Graham Pittock and Cr Hugh Fraser  as part of the shire’s delegation to the the Paris climate talks in December.

The shire said Ms Wingad was at the talks to “learn the latest global trends and their potential application locally”.

Ratepayers bore the estimated $18,000 cost for the three. The two councillors say they will repay any expenditure over the $16,000 they are allowed each four-year term.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 19 January 2016


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