Bass Coast,

Phillip Island Transfer Station and Waste Services Update

At Bass Coast Shire Council’s March Ordinary Meeting the decision was made to not award the Tender for the Design, Construction and Operation of Phillip Island Resource Recovery Centre (Transfer Station).

Council were presented with the results of the tender evaluation and it was recommended that Council not award a contract.

A panel, consisting of five Council officers and one external independent member, was formed for the purpose of the tender evaluation. The panel’s objective was to assess the submissions against the specification requirements and the selection criteria.

Council had engaged a Probity Advisor to provide advice during the procurement processes conducted for this tender and the Probity Advisor Report states the procurement project was conducted in a fair, impartial, transparent and ethical manner.

Ultimately, the panel concluded that the tender submitted by the tenderer will not provide Council with value for money.

Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield, expressed her disappointment at the outcome, but was pleased that a rigorous tender process was followed which did not see Council exposed to any legal or financial risk.

“It was disappointing that the tender process did not provide us with the results we were after. I understand our resident’s frustrations regarding the issue of a full transfer station on Phillip Island. It has been an ongoing issue and one we have tried to solve since being elected,” Cr Rothfield said.

“What I can’t fault is the process. We have gone out to the market, not once but twice to find an appropriate tenderer to express an interest in the design and operation of a transfer station. The tender review recommendations made it clear to us that the offer received was not suitable, especially based on the proposed costs, supporting documentation and in comparison to other Gippsland Councils.

“We have a duty of care and obligation to manage our finances responsibly. Waste management is a core function and service of the organisation and our waste contracts have to reflect the best value for our community.”

Currently, Council operates a public waste facility on Phillip Island at the Cowes Recycling Bank in Dunsmore Road. This facility is open seven days per week and accepts general and green waste, recycling, as well as oil, batteries, scrap-metal, whitegoods and cardboard.

Although the facility meets most of the demand from the local community, it cannot accept major waste items such as large furniture, construction and demolition waste and loads larger than a tandem trailer size.

Following this decision, the next steps for Council will be to investigate other options for a transfer station on Phillip Island and prepare a Council Report for April 2018.

Recycling Processing

Many Victorian councils and the waste collection industry have been affected by China’s decision to stop the import of low quality mixed recyclable materials. Although China has not banned the importation of all recycled plastic and paper, they now require a higher quality, cleaner version of the material.

This decision and the changed market conditions will affect councils and the recycling industry right across Australia.

Four weeks ago, the State Government announced it would provide a $13 million Recycling Services Temporary Relief Funding package for councils and industry to respond to these shifts in the global recycling markets and assist in supporting councils with the ongoing kerbside collection of household recyclable materials.

Council welcomes the State Government’s assistance funding arrangement and as part of the process has submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) to access the funding available. At this stage, Council understands that the funding will be capped at approximately $55-$60 per tonne of recyclable kerbside material that is collected.

Council’s submission is based on predicated tonnes of kerbside recyclable material collected for processing with the funding assistance available to Council for costs incurred from 1 March 2018 to 30 June 2018.

Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield has been encouraged by the announcement, which will help cover some of the costs for the increased fee for processing recyclable materials.

“I am pleased there has been a response on the matter and thank the State Government for listening to our calls for help. We are eagerly awaiting all the details, but at the moment Council and our contractor Wonthaggi Recyclers will now work with our processor Visy to put in place an agreement until 30 June 2018, and then look at a longer term arrangement after this.

“As much as the funding is welcome, it does not meet the entire costs required for this financial year. Therefore, Council will need to find the remaining shortfall, within the current Budget. Council will consider future costs as part of the 2018/19 Budget process,” Cr Rothfield said.

The annual garbage charge is set through the Budget process and aims to recover the full costs of delivering waste management services across the municipality.

The change in the recycling processing industry provides an opportunity for State Government and the industry to explore innovative options to recycle materials. It also presents opportunity to better understand and reconsider the amount of packaging material required for consumer goods.

Council is continuing to work with Wonthaggi Recyclers to ensure kerbside collection services are uninterrupted while the industry finds short and long term solutions to a major change in recycling processing. Council is also working with the Municipal Association of Victoria and the Gippsland Waste and Resource Recovery Group to access the State Government’s Sustainability Fund to undertake research and development so as to find improvements to waste processing, and alternate waste technologies.

Cr Rothfield also encouraged residents to not change their recycling behaviour in response to what has happened.

“Residents should continue to sort their waste and think about the products they are purchasing to close the loop with recycling. Bass Coast residents have really improved their recycling behaviours over the last few years and it is critical that we maintain this into the future,” Cr Rothfield said.

Kerbside Three-Bin System

Waste management has definitely been a topic of interest across the community over the last few months. Of major interest was the implementation of the kerbside three-bin system introduced in September 2017.

The system has been working really well since it started with some fantastic results with respect to diversion of organic waste from landfill. Over the summer period from 1 December to 28 February, a total of 5,245 tonnes of material was collected from the kerbside bins across Bass Coast. To give that amount some context, it is around 175 Humpback whales.

However, over summer, the new system was met with mixed reviews from the community. Contributing factors were the change in collection frequency of the red landfill bin and moving the Christmas Day collection in some areas, making it three days earlier.

“I know there are some local members of our community along with visitors who were not satisfied with the system’s performance over the summer period and in particular the week of Christmas to New Year. We have taken on board the community’s feedback”, Cr Rothfield said.

Council has received a lot of the feedback during the implementation and the summer period and will consider the best way to manage waste during the peak-season visitation and improve local and non-permanent resident education on the system.

During the preparation of the Council Budget, Council will be considering the options to address some of the waste issues experienced in some of our communities.

Overall, residents used the system well with issues mainly identified in coastal townships where there were a high influx of holiday home owners and visitors not as familiar with the system.

Bass Coast Shire Mayor, Cr Pamela Rothfield acknowledged that the summer period was a challenge.

“I know Council has introduced a system of managing waste across the Shire that is not only cost effective and efficient, but importantly provides a benefit to our environment. The results over the summer period have shown that only 21per cent of waste was sent to landfill, meaning 79 per cent of kerbside waste material collected was recycled; 30 per cent being recycling and 49 per cent organics. The Organics bins contamination rate was only 0.85%, only slightly higher than our average contamination rate of 0.8% since the system commenced.

“If we did nothing, our landfill sites would be filling up faster, therefore requiring new landfill cells to be constructed sooner, which in the long term are a much greater cost to Council’s finances and will have a negative environmental outcome,” Cr Rothfield said.

“We really appreciate the community’s support in ’being a good sort’ and reducing our waste to landfill. Thank you, and keep up the great work!”