Cockburn plan could ‘collapse’ SMRC

COCKBURN council’s move to a three-bin rubbish collection has the potential to trigger the collapse of the problem-plagued Southern Metropolitan Regional Council, a report claims.

Cockburn is running a trial in Hamilton Hill of a third bin specifically for garden waste, and plans to roll the system out citywide next year.

It has told the SMRC, of which it us a paid-up member, it doesn’t want to use its recycling waste facility in Canning Vale any more, preferring to process its own garden clippings at its own landfill site in Henderson.

Cockburn argues it would be uneconomical to send food scraps and other household waste to Canning Vale without green waste.

A report to Melville council says the change will leave the SMRC with an annual net financial loss of $7 million a year.

“The loss of approximately 30,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste would have a devastating impact on the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council and the remaining project participants, and may possibly trigger the wind-up provisions of the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council,” Melville technical services director John Christie reports.

Exacerbating the problem is the RRRC doesn’t get enough waste now from its council members to be viable. The SMRC has been unable to attract any commercial customers to bolster its bottom line.

Cockburn has requested a “partial withdrawal” from the RRRC project, but the SMRC called in lawyers who argue that’s not possible without the agreement of all members, including Fremantle, East Fremantle and Kwinana.

Mr Christie recommends Melville reject Cockburn’s request.

Cockburn has its own legal advice that a partial withdrawal is achievable through a deed of variation to the project partners’ agreement. Its three-bin system has the blessing of the state’s waste authority. On its website it highlights a review of Nedlands’ three-bin system which found it helped the council reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill by 20 per cent.

The SMRC has been plagued with issues for years, including a long-running and expensive controversy over odour, devastating fire that gutted one of its facilities and resignations from member councils.


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