Greater Shepparton City Council will benefit from a $13 million package to develop new recycling solutions.
The Victorian Government package supports all councils impacted by China’s decision last month to restrict the import of recyclable materials.
Victorian Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the package would help councils and industry to keep kerbside recycling collections going.
The package comes after the council announced ratepayers could be slapped with a $1 million annual rate rise, after its supplier Visy confirmed the sorting and processing of recyclables would incur a greater fee.
The government will also establish an industry taskforce to develop a strategic recycling plan.
‘‘This is about protecting jobs and ensuring Victorians have confidence to continue recycling,’’ Ms D’Ambrosio said.
‘‘We’re already investing at record levels to manage waste in the long term and we will continue to work with industry and local government to help them address these challenges.’’
Council assistance will be provided to June 30. From July 1, local governments will be required to meet any increase in recycling costs.
Municipal Association of Victoria chief executive Rob Spence welcomed the support, but said a long-term vision was needed.
He said councils were likely to pass higher costs onto residents though a rate rise.
‘‘The recycling crisis will equate to a rate rise of between 1.1 and 2.5 per cent for ratepayers and this will be on top of any annual rate rise,’’ Mr Spence said.
‘‘For councils that do not have a waste management charge, we are hopeful the Essential Services Commission will grant them an exemption to increase their rates to cover the new recycling fees.’’
Council chief executive Peter Harriott said a decision about a rate rise would be made during the budget period.
‘‘No decision has been made in that regard yet,’’ he said.
‘‘It may lead to a renewal of our contractual arrangements and an attempt to look at more competitive arrangements.
‘‘We need to work together with industry to resolve this issue and all options will be on the table to see how, collectively, we can reduce the costs that we’re looking at.’’