BCRRA HAS RECEIVED SOME OF THE WASTE CONTRACT DOCUMENTS REQUESTED UNDER FOI, BUT LITTLE USEFUL INFORMATION!
At the request of its members the Bass Coast Residents and Ratepayers Association (BCRRA) lodged a Freedom of Information (F.O.I.) request on the 1st June 2019, seeking details of the current Bass coast Waste Management Contract. Members had expressed concern on the yearly garbage rate increases. The yearly garbage rate has increased from $374 in 2017 to $496.60 in 2021 an increase of $122.60 or24.7% over 4 years
The justification from Bass Coast council for such a mammoth increase is the tonnage rate increase charged by the recyclers due to no more offshore recycling to China and Indonesia.
Under our F.O.I. request we asked for the original Waste contract tender document, the final Waste contract document and other relevant documents to allow BCRRA to evaluate the waste management contract.
The FOI process has been extremely drawn out, with Council failing on several occasions to meet promised dealines, leading to BCRRA lodging a formal complaint with the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) in September 2020.
Bass Coast Shire Council finally provided 2 of 3 contract documents to BCRRA early December 2021. Much of the information contained has been redacted under Sections 25 and 34 of the FOI act, and the 3rd document is subject to a 60 day appeal period pending third party action.
We have still not received sufficient information to permit proper evaluation of the Waste Contract, and BCRRA has applied to OVIC for a formal review of Council’s decision.
BCRRA will continue its efforts to hold Council to account.
We should add that both the Mayor Michael Whelan* and Ex-councillor Stephen Fullarton* both showed in letters written to the Philip Island & San Remo Advertiser their belief that the community should be shown what the Council agreed to with the Waste Contract approved in 2016 behind closed doors, by making them public documents.
We believe these sentiments, given when, while they were canvassing to be elected to Council in 2016 are still valid today.
* Stephen Fullarton’s letter was published 21st September 2016, and Michael Whelan’s letter was published 28th September 2016. This was prior to their election to Council in October 2016. (Click the names to view copies of their letters)