Hartwig says green waste is potential product going to waste
The Gympie region needs leadership that is both innovative and business minded. The cost of providing some of council's core services could not only be mitigated by embracing new business practices but would also allow council to explore revenue generation.
Green waste is a prime example. Council currently pays a contractor to grind the waste, transport it from our facilities to theirs and then council gives it to them, free of charge.
With a business approach we can remove this expense and investigate ways to produce income for the ratepayer where we are currently spending money.
I have spoken to contractors who believe they could provide the grinding service for less than $10 per cubic metre but let's use that figure for now.
Essentially council spends $200,000 per year to produce 20,000cu.m of ground green waste. Council could do as other councils (Noosa and Sunshine Coast) do and sell the green waste to farmers and ratepayers for $10 per cubic metre, thus recovering the cost of the operation. Saving you $200,000.
By selling the product as other councils do, GRC can remove the current expense of transporting the product to a contractor's facility. Another saving.
Gympie region farmers currently purchase green waste from Noosa and Sunshine Coast Councils and outlay the cost of transport from the coast. It is time Gympie Regional Council supported its ratepaying farmers. Every dollar they spend on transport from other council depots is a dollar they cannot spend in Gympie businesses.
At a recent meeting between waste staff and a local farmer we were informed that council uses 4000cu.m for its own purpose, leaving 16000cu.m available to be sold.
Removing green waste fees encourages arborists to use the tip instead of depositing on a rural block to be burnt thus increasing the volume collected by council and improving our economy of scale.
This initiative is a win for the ratepayer and the environment but requires a change to a business mentality that will see GRC progress in a new direction.
With a deficit of over 11 million last year and a predicted loss of 6 million this year, there is pressure on rates. You cannot keep losing money and think that a large rate rise is not just around the corner.
A new direction is essential for the region's prosperity.