Review of region's waste services desperately needed

At Monday night’s Council meeting I tabled an important Mayoral Minute which asked Council staff to look at the issues surrounding opening hours and charges associated with landfill and waste transfer stations across the Local Government Area (LGA).

I am glad the Councillors saw the value in supporting the minute and the creation of a management plan. I am particularly happy that there will be community consultation about the way waste transfer stations at Wellington, Geurie and the region’s villages are handled.

I attempt to get out and talk to the community regularly (at least prior to the Coronavirus pandemic) through my Meet the Mayor opportunities and other visits, and something that was very clear to me was the concern around the accessibility of waste transfer stations. I have heard it at a number of villages and I think there needs to be work to find a new solution.

Council staff have been working hard to manage the balance between ensuring that our waste transfer stations aren’t abused and the needs of local residents are met. It is no secret that there have been instances of asbestos being dumped at Elong Elong and Euchareena, and these incidents have cost Council a substantial amount of money.

But the move to manned waste transfer stations has resulted in restricted opening hours, which make it very difficult for people to take their rubbish to the tip.

It is critical that we talk to our village and rural residents and involve them in the discussions about how to manage these facilities. By undertaking broader consultation, we may be able to find a better outcome for everyone. That is how I hope everyone will approach this opportunity.

As part of my Mayoral Minute, I asked that an appropriate management plan for the village waste transfer stations including alternative ways of accessing the sites and appropriate fee schedule to compliment the proposed new opening hours. I have also asked that it include consultation with village residents, and a report be presented to Council at the October meeting.

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With the easing of social distancing restrictions I will be looking to reintroduce my community consultation.

I was at the Dubbo Farmers Markets last Saturday and will be at the Rotunda Markets on Sunday, offering people an opportunity to raise any concerns with me. When the Wellington Rotary Markets resume I will also be out there on a regular basis.

I am also looking at resuming my Meet the Mayor opportunities at the villages. With the pubs reopen I will be looking to book opportunities starting in July. Keep an eye on my Facebook page Mayor of The Dubbo Region – Ben Shields for the latest information on my engagement opportunities but I am also happy for people to contact me via the Facebook page or by emailing mayor@dubbo.nsw.gov.au.

Last Edited: 07 Aug 2020

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