Council making money off charity forced to dump rubbish
OP SHOP items can be trendy and cool, but not when they’re littered with vegetable peelings and rusted household appliances.
That’s what one Gatton charity is having to take to the dump on a weekly basis, with people continuing to dispose of rubbish at donation points.
But to make matters worse, the Lockyer Valley St Vincent De Paul’s group is having to fork out dumping fees at the local tip, despite calling for a 100 per cent waiver by the council.
In April 2018, the group wrote to Lockyer Valley Regional Council requesting for their dumping charges to be waived, but they have met with no success.
“It was a good eighteen months since we sent the original request, to when they replied,” Mrs Reimann said.
“Maybe they knew that new law was coming in from the first of July, because it was only after that was passed that they responded to us.”
In a letter from LVRC obtained by the Gatton Star, the council replied saying it resolved to decline the charity’s requests.
“Normal disposal fee needed to be maintained to ‘encourage resource recovery at Council’s waste management facilities, as well as mitigating perverse dumping outcomes particularly with the recently introduced State Waste Levy,” the letter said.
After discussion with council, Mrs Reimann said she accepted the council’s explanation, and the real issue was with the volume of unsuitable items being dropped off at donation sites.
“It’s not about that we’re being charged, it’s the sheer amount of stuff that’s getting dumped off there,” she said.
“We say if you wouldn’t give it to a friend, don’t give it to us, but I’d say only about half of what we get, we could probably use.”
Mrs Reimann said the charity was being forced to routinely collect and dispose of the garbage at its own expense.
“Appliances, fans, rotten clothes, we even get rubbish bins with vegetable peels and household waste in it that they don’t want.”
“And that’s just down in Mill and Byrne streets, it also happens up at the church, and in Laidley and Helidon too.”
She said volunteers collected items three times a week throughout the Lockyer Valley.
“We get a big commercial rubbish bin, and they come twice a week we’ve had to increase it to, and get a bigger bin, all so that we’re not going out to the council tip all of the time,” she said.
Mrs Reinmann went on to say changing people’s attitudes towards the situation was key to alleviating the issue.
“Some people have commented, people are poor, they’ll use these things, but you can’t use a three-legged chair or a lounge that’s got no cushions on it, or something like that,” she said.
“I don’t know who’s doing it, but if people could be made aware of the effort and cost we’ve got to go to, it might help.”
Though they were unsuccessful in having their dumping fees waived entirely, as a charitable organisation, Vinnies are still able to dump their refuse at a reduced rate.
“The council has got us on commercial rates, so that’s half the cost. Sometimes it’s up to $20, sometimes it’s only $5,” Mrs Reimann said.
While it is a relatively small amount, costs quickly add up during several visits to the transfer station each week, and the cost can be a massive blow to the non-profit group.
“We’re not subsidised by the government, so the money we pay is money that can’t go to helping the people that really need it,” Mrs Reimann said.
“It’s just ongoing, and it seems to be getting worse. I’m sure all of the other charities are having the same problems.”
Despite this, she expressed her gratitude to those whose support of the charity was genuine.
“We’re lucky that we do get a lot of really good stuff given to us that is usable,” she said.
“I just wanted to thank the people, and ask them to continue their good donations.”
Lockyer Valley Regional Council has been approached for comment.