A LANDFILL tax sustainability fund, fed by levies, has grown significantly in recent years – but expenditure flowing back into the public sphere has slowed.
Buloke Shire Council will benefit from the state government’s $466 million Sustainability Fund, despite not paying fees.
The fund exists to support better waste management, more sustainable resource use and innovative practices to combat climate change, and is maintained by a levy on waste collected at landfills.
The council does not pay into the fund because it has transfer stations instead of licensed landfills. But it has benefited through a $25,000 grant for two transfer stations at Wycheproof and a $100,000 contribution towards a station at Charlton.
Director works and technical services Anthony Judd said the council wanted to see more of the fund’s money invested in the innovation space, as well as supporting local government with rehabilitation of landfill sites.
He said because the fund was built on ratepayers’ money, he wanted to see initiatives that would reduce costs for them.
Auditor-General Andrew Greaves will assess the fund after finding while it had grown by 294 per cent since 2012, the amount distributed via grants has fallen by 34 per cent.
Last financial year the City of Greater Bendigo contributed $2.2 million, yet since the fund was established in 2005, it has furnished the council with only $500,000 with which to buy bins for the organic waste collection.
A spokesperson for Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said a record $613 million expenditure in landfill levy revenue was approved in the last budget.
Projects to be funded include a waste recovery and recycling initiative, a biodiversity project, a sustainability initiative in schools, a climate change adaptation plan and measures to modernise the state’s energy system.
The spokesperson said the levy provided a $162.5 million boost to the Environment Protection Authority.