Yarra residents at war with council over proposed ‘bin tax’

Outraged residents have hit out at a waste levy they’ve dubbed a “bin tax”, slamming councillors at a meeting where the new fee was voted in.

The City of Yarra Council met on Tuesday night to consider a proposal to list the cost of waste service removal as a separate line item on the rates notice given to residents.

Currently waste removal is included in the general rates bill, with the council claiming that the new line item will make notices “more transparent”.

Members of the Yarra Residents Collective lined up to have their say, arguing the move was a “money grab” by the council as the waste levy will be exempt from a 3.5 per cent cap on rate hikes.

The fee could reach $115 per year, according to council documents.

“You need to get your house in order to stick your hand out ask for more money,” community member Kenneth Gomez said.

“Really galling thing for thing for me is that you claim to have done consultation, but you‘re imposing a charge on people without talking to them first.”

Councillors who voted for the motion defended the move, saying Yarra Council was the last in Victoria to bring in the changes.

“No council of Victoria has been able to establish an alternative solution,” Councillor Edward Crossland said.

“Separating the waste fee presents an opportunity to deliver greater equity for members of the community who currently pay for a service they simply can’t access at this point in time.”

Members of the community erupted in protest after the plan was voted in, with a security guard seen moving in front of the table of councillors in response.

Camera IconA security guard was seen stepping forward after the result of the vote caused anger in the council room. Credit: Supplied
Mayor Nguyen wsa forced to try and calm agitated community  members down.
Camera IconMayor Nguyen was forced to try and calm agitated community members down. Credit: Supplied

Throughout the meeting, individuals could be heard calling out and shouting while councillors spoke, with Mayor Claudia Nguyen forced to repeatedly ask for “respect”.

Councillor Crossland called out some members of the community for sending threatening letters and emails over the waste levy.

“They’ve been really inappropriate and threatening and it’s really not okay. It’s totally fine for people to have differences of opinion, but some of the things we’ve received have been totally inappropriate,” he said.

Formal submissions by residents included accusations of secrecy and a breach of trust over the consultation process.

The fee could reach $115 according to council documents.
Camera IconThe fee could reach $115 according to council documents. Credit: Supplied

“What you‘re doing here through your secret reports and your secret decision making, because that’s what is what was, effectively encouraged the secrecy going around,” Mr Jackson said.

“That’s why we feel so offended and that’s why there’s so many people turning up here, because the trust has been breached.”

Dozens of concerned citizens gathered outside the meeting to protest the proposal.

Yarra Council brought in security guards due to concerns for the councillors, a move slammed by many community members.

“What‘s also disappointing is tonight there’s security on board, you’re paying to protect yourself and like the security from the people who elected you. How ironic is that?” Kevin McMahon said.

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