MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has been accused of costing flood victims hundreds of dollars and adding to their trauma by not telling them about a free flood waste tipping service.
Rob Johnstone’s garage in Mornington was flooded during two heavy rain events in recent weeks, damaging much of what was stored there, including carpets and various bits of building materials.
Johnstone, who knew the state government was reimbursing selected municipalities – including Mornington Peninsula Shire – for accepting flood waste at no charge to residents, recently took a trailer load of the sodden flood waste to Mornington’s waste disposal centre in Watt Road. But when he got there he was told he had to pay and there was no such thing as free waste disposal.
Incensed, he phoned the council and quoted information provided by the Environment Protection Authority, only to be told the same that there was no free waste disposal for flood-affected residents in the shire and he would have to pay the going rate for a trailer load of rubbish.
“I know for a fact that the government has been offering free waste disposal for flood affected residents until the end of December, I have it in writing and I have confirmed it over the telephone,” he said. “The council should know that, because they get refunded by the EPA for any waste fee they waive. Are they double dipping by charging people as well?”
Johnstone said it was bad enough to lose belongings because of the shire’s “inadequate” storm water drainage system, but being denied the opportunity to take up a government offer of free waste disposal was adding to the stress of it all.
“I tried to tell them about the state government offer, but nobody would listen. I can’t believe they don’t know about it, so why not make sure the people running the tip do too,” Johnstone said.
According to information from the EPA, from October through to 31 December, the state government has been helping flood-affected communities clean up and recover by removing charges to dispose of flood waste.
The waste levy for flood waste has been completely waived, and landfill operator gate fees covered in flood-affected local government areas until the end of the year – ensuring all flood waste can be disposed of at landfill free of charge.
Landfill operators are also able to claim a rebate to cover gate fee costs, provided they document evidence to verify that they have accepted flood waste from a flood-affected local government area.
Flood waste means any material deposited on a property by the floods, or damaged by the floods, which requires disposal to landfill.
A spokesperson for the council said the free flood waste disposal was only available at Rye. She was unable to explain why residents going to other waste disposal centres are not being informed of the offer.