Angry Victorian residents have ensured their opinions about a new "bin tax" have been heard, with hundreds flocking to their local town hall in Melbourne overnight while council members voted on the controversial proposal.
Over 200 people stood outside on Tuesday evening while The City of Yarra council – which serves the inner eastern and northern suburbs of Melbourne – discussed the waste levy. The proposal would establish waste removal service as a seperate entity on resident's council bills and increase fees.
At present, the service is compiled under a general rate and the change is expected to cost residents an extra $115 per year.
The proposal was branded a "cash grab" by Stephen Jolly, a council member who many in the community have rallied behind after his vocal opposition to the waste levy.
He told Today host Karl Stefanovic on Tuesday the proposed fee increase was an attack against "struggling families and small businesses" and was a "sneaky" method deployed by the council to get around rate capping, as the waste levy will be exempt from a 3.5 per cent cap on rate hikes.
The residents were heard chanting "bin the bin tax, bin the councillors" while nine representatives, including Mr Jolly, cast their vote inside.
The crowd of residents lined up for Yarra’s council meeting where a vote on a new waste charge - or “bin tax” as opponents call it - does to a vote tonight. @theage Yarra the last remaining council that has not yet separated waste from general rates pic.twitter.com/sMaDXSNHSR
— Rachael Dexter (@rachael_dexter) March 14, 2023
The council's verdict
The final vote was in favour of the "bin tax", with six votes outweighing three. The change will bring the council in line with all other Victorian councils that have taken a similar approach.
Nonetheless, community Facebook page Yarra Residents Collective individually listed the council members involved in the decision alongside their vote, urging residents to keep this information in mind when voting in elections next year.
The post signed off saying "consultation is not optional" – a sentiment that seemed to spark further fury within the community.
“You need to get your house in order to stick your hand out and ask for more money,” local resident Kenneth Gomez said, according to News Corp.
“Really galling thing for me is that you claim to have done consultation, but you‘re imposing a charge on people without talking to them," he said.
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