A DRAFT waste infrastructure plan has flagged St Arnaud’s Hard Hills landfill for closure in 2015.
The State Government’s draft Statewide Waste and Resource Recovery Infrastructure Plan outlines the investment areas for waste management infrastructure during the next 30 years.
It anticipates the Northern Grampians Shire Council-owned landfill, which accepts household and retail waste, will close in 2015.
But council chief executive Justine Linley said council had no plans to shut the unlicensed landfill.
“We still believe there are uses for that site and we want to keep as many options open as possible for the community,” she said.
“I was a little bit surprised by this but I can understand that it is part of a broader statewide strategy.”
Northern Grampians Shire Council is investigating whether it can use Stawell Gold Mine’s Wonga pit as a landfill once the mine closes.
“Waste and recycling is a big issue for councils throughout the Wimmera,” Ms Linley said.
“The things that might work in metropolitan Melbourne might not work for us and that is something we have to be mindful of as regional councils so that our voices are heard.”
Grampians Regional Waste Management Group has called for the 30-year plan to provide regional councils with more money for waste management.
Group executive officer Kerrie Tomkins said Wimmera councils needed more money to cope with hefty waste management demands.
“We have a lot of small regional transfer stations and obviously councils in this economic climate are struggling somewhat with their limited resources,” she said.
“We would be advocating that our councils have the opportunity to improve and do capital works on the transfer stations with more funding.”
West Wimmera and Hindmarsh councils take their waste to the Dooen landfill.
West Wimmera Mayor and Desert Fringe Regional Waste Management Group member Bruce Meyer estimated council spent up to $150,000 transporting waste to Dooen each year.
Despite the six-figure cost, Cr Meyer said it was cheaper than running a landfill.
“Waste management is extremely costly because after we collect the material we have to transport it as far as 180 kilometres to get it to Dooen,” he said.
“The alternative – having a landfill – is too costly and is regulated out of possibility.”
Cr Meyer said councils were also burdened by the cost of transporting recyclables that could be on-sold.