Wollongong council tips out rate saving

Whytes Gully tip.
Whytes Gully tip.

Wollongong ratepayers receiving their yearly rate notices this week will be slugged with a now redundant carbon tax, as the council says it is too complicated to remove the extra charges until next year.

At Monday night's meeting, councillors voted to remove the repealed carbon price from gate fees at Whytes Gully tip but agreed with a staff recommendation that the tax on household bins should not be revoked until 2015-16.

The carbon tax charges cost ratepayers between $12 and $18 a year, depending on bin size.

Labor's David Brown agreed with staff, who said it was too late to apply savings to this year's rates notices as bills had to be issued by July 31.

He also said it was too early to decide what to do with $4.5 million in carbon tax contributions collected by the council since 2012, warning it was unclear what type of scheme the new federal government would introduce in the future.

"Those who watch Canberra will know the crossbenchers have said they are in favour of an [emissions trading scheme] ... and it wouldn't be too hard to cook up an ETS that has compulsory credits related to what's been paid in the carbon tax," Cr Brown said.

But Liberal councillor Michelle Blicavs said staff needed to start investigating what to do with the collected money now.

She was in favour of each household getting a $12 refund for the past three years and said this needed to happen as soon as possible. She also suggested any remaining funds could be spent on environmental projects.

"I think we need to make our intent clear to the community and if we can provide some sort of credit back to them for a tax they no longer need to pay, then I think that we should do that," Cr Blicavs said.


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