BIG NUMBERS: Waste Recycling Industry CEO Rick Ralph with his commercial garbage collection petition.
BIG NUMBERS: Waste Recycling Industry CEO Rick Ralph with his commercial garbage collection petition. Iain Curry

Petition comes to trash the trash monopoly

COULD a petition filled with 4638 signatures end Sunshine Coast Council's monopoly on commercial rubbish recycling services?

The Waste Recycling Industry of Queensland certainly hopes so.

It has been engaged in a long-running battle with council on the issue, especially since a 2012 Queensland Competition Authority report found evidence of a competitive advantage that should be removed.

Waste Recycling Industry CEO Rick Ralph presented the petition, signed mostly by business owners operating in the waste and recycling industry, to Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie this week.

He hopes the signatures will be the tipping point that spurs Local Government Minister David Crisafulli into action.

"We've given up on meeting with the Mayor and now we're asking the State Government to use its powers to force a sensible outcome on behalf of local businesses," Mr Ralph said.

"This petition represents more than 60% of affected businesses on the Coast - an incredibly high proportion of signatories for a political petition.

"All of those business owners are calling on the State Government to step in and give them a fair go by ending the Sunshine Coast Council's abuse of its monopoly power.

"The council's refusal to allow free and fair competition is driving up the cost of waste collection and recycling services by at least 30% - money which comes direct from the pockets of business owners on the Sunshine Coast."

Mr Ralph said the council was the only local government authority in Australia that did not give its commercial and industrial businesses the choice of which waste or recycling company they used.

A spokesman said council was not aware of the petition and could not comment on its content.

"However as we have previously advised, council has already made a decision on this matter, and has in the last 12 months gone to the open market to call for tenders and has awarded a contract for regional collection of these wastes," the spokesman said.

"Council is more than happy to discuss this issue with the State Government."


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