While local Councils around Victoria are increasing rubbish collection fees and cutting regular garbage collection to households, the state government is sitting on a stockpile of cash, collected through the Municipal and Industrial Waste Levy (MIWL.)
The most recent report available from the Department of Environment Water Land and Planning (DWELP) for 2020-21 shows a stockpile of $320m waiting to be dished out from the Sustainability Fund.
But the MIWL collects millions more than the cash in the Sustainability Fund. In 2020-21 the MIWL collected about $260m : $202m was handed over to six state government departments – and only $44m went into the Sustainability Fund.
And it appears from the DWELP report that the six state government departments who get allocations from the Levy, can also double dip by applying for grants from Sustainability Fund.
The report shows that in 20-21 66% of the $66m allocated went to local councils and state government departments.
In 2018 the Victorian Auditor General found the operation of the Fund was less than ideal; it was difficult to tell where the money was going; there was conflict of interest in the Trustees appointed to run the fund, and it was doubtful that all of the money was being spent as it was intended, when the Levy was first introduced.
Neither the DWELP report, nor the website with information about the Fund actually states simply that ratepayers are funding the bulk of this money – but we are, through our general rates bills.
Meanwhile, ratepayers just want reliable, regular rubbish services.
Instead, we get charged rates, then some of us get charged extra for rubbish collection, then some of our rates goes to the State Government as part of the Landfill Levy, then some of it goes to Six state government departments (who already have budgets funded from the GST and some of their own charges), then the rest goes into the Sustainability Fund, and our Councils can apply for grants, to get some of our money back, to spend on items not associated with what it was collected for in the first place.
Between our Councils and our state government departments the biggest waste crisis for ratepayers is our taxes. We’re running out of money because our governments are wasting it.
Saturday November 26th is state election day in Victoria.