City of Wodonga

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Wodonga Council responds to Ombudsman's Report

Wodonga Council has been working with the ombudsman’s office for more than 12 months to provide all the information requested in response to an investigation into its waste management charges.

The Ombudsman’s report did not find any breaches of the Local Government Act and showed that the council had communicated and engaged the community in its budget and rates processes.

The council accepts the Ombudsman’s recommendation and concurs that the Local Government Act pertaining to the collection and disposal of refuse needs clarification.

This information about the council’s waste charges has been part of our budget, rating strategy and rates information for some years. The Ombudsman’s Report recognises that we have undertaken extensive consultation for our budgets and rating strategy.

The average surplus being $1.79 million over the 10 year period the Ombudsman reviewed.  The highest surplus was $2.4 million in one year only, with the lowest surplus being $1.1 million.

It is important to note that these funds were used for waste-related services.

These services including supply and maintenance of public bins, street sweeping, cigarette disposal bins, waste transfer station operations, landfill rehabilitation and various litter and cleaning undertaken by our parks and garden teams across parks, playgrounds and recreation precincts.

We know that our community values the green and clean spaces that are provided across our city and the funds are used for essential council services that the community values and asks for.

The Ombudsman has recommended the council reduce its waste management charge within three years to reflect the cost of the kerbside service and the council will address that as part of the annual budget process.

We are looking at bringing together a new Rating Strategy group and revamping our rates notices to better reflect the waste charges.

As the Ombudsman states, 72 out of 79 councils have separate waste charges and the Act does not provide clarity about how that charge is set or reflected.

The council has been and will continue to work with Local Government Victoria, the Essential Services Commission and the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office to ensure we can continue to meet our community’s needs.


Last updated: 24-04-2018

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