Vic Government ‘Dumps’ Charities in Funding Limbo
Thursday, 27th June 2013 at 10:46 am
The Victorian Government appears to have abandoned a funding program designed to ease the illegal waste dumping burden on some of the State’s largest welfare charities.
The State Government has not committed to any ongoing funding to counter the crippling cost of ‘charity dumping’ driven by increasing the landfill levy which will net the Government $160 million per year, according to Salvos Stores in Victoria.
The Victorian Government provided $2 million this financial year to support charitable recyclers such as the Salvos and Vinnies to both cover the cost of disposing of the waste and reduce dumping. However, the Salvos says the funding arrangement ends on June 30th.
“The Salvos face spending over $2 million dollar in 2014 in Victoria alone to sort and remove some 4500 tonnes of illegally dumped community waste,” Salvos Sustainability and Waste Manager, Donald Munro said.
“Maintaining the current funding arrangement is a drop in the ocean when the Victorian
Government is raising $160 million from the taxes raised by its landfill levy in 2014,” he said.
“Appeals to the Government by Salvos Stores as the largest charitable recycler in Victoria, have fallen on deaf ears. The Government must urgently roll over the existing funding to match a newly increased levy announced for July 1, this year.
"There’s clear evidence that the dumping of rubbish at a charity’s doorstep is directly related to the increasing State Government landfill levy, and with it, the unintended ongoing costs we face reducing the funding, we can provide for much needed Salvation Army social programs.
“In the current financial year the government rebate will cover just 31% of the real cost to the Salvos of disposing of other people's rubbish,” Munro said.
“We have made numerous appeals to the Government, including a face to face meeting with the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, without receiving any commitment for ongoing support."
The Landfill Levy in Victoria has increased from $9 a tonne in 2010 to $48.40 a tonne in 2012. It is set to increase an additional $4.84 per tonne from July 1, this year.
“As one of the biggest charitable recyclers in Victoria this ongoing funding is crucial to our mission,” said Allen Dewhirst, CEO of Salvos Stores.
“We urge the Victorian Government not to abandon us and to continue its assistance in
managing the growing problem of charity dumping,” he said.
“Every cent spent on removing community waste – waste we neither generate nor solicit -detracts from Salvation Army social programs,” Dewhirst said.
The St Vincent De Paul Society says landfill fees in the past three years have doubled and the organisation is now missing out on between $400,000 and $500-000 that should be going to welfare support.
“Welfare costs have increased by 20% in that time and it is more difficult to meet the needs of those people who are in genuine need,” the Deputy State President of Vinnies, John Lazzari said.
Lazzari has joined with the Salvos in calling on the Victorian Government to support charities by maintaining the landfilling levy subsidy into 2013-14.
In Queensland there is no landfill levy, in NSW charities are exempt from paying a levy, charities pay no dumping fees in the ACT and in WA the levy is set at a minimal cost of $12. South Australia has higher levies than Victoria but the Salvos Stores there say the State does not have a ‘dumping’ problem.
A spokesperson for the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith responded saying both the landfill levy relief and a package of funding to trial a range of deterrence devices at charitable stores are part of a trial being conducted in partnership with the national body representing charitable recyclers (NACRO).
“NACRO is finalising the trial evaluation, which will then inform how the government best spends taxpayers funds assisting charities to tackle illegal dumping,” the spokesperson said.
NACRO's evaluation is expected by next week.