Dumped after 19 years of service
A CASTING vote by Mayor Tony Wellington has ended a 19-year recycling success story for a local employment trainer and thrown its future and that of tip shop workers into doubt.
Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie, councillors Frank Pardon and Joe Jurisevic opposed the awarding of a tender to operate the recycling operations at the Briteside tip shop at the council's Doonan landfill to New South Wales-based Resource Recovery Australia.
This came at the expense of Noosa Community Training Centre, with gutted manager Glenda Lane not convinced tip staff would keep their jobs under the new recycler, despite the council requiring RRA to offer them employment if they met "the relevant employment criteria”.
Revenue raising seemed to be a major deciding factor for the mayor and councillors Brian Stockwell and Ingrid Jackson in supporting the new approach.
The successful RRA tender is expected to generate $1,147,740 compared to the NCTC's $747,165 during the seven-year operation, according to the council.
With councillor Jess Glasgow absent from last Thursday's ordinary meeting, the mayor was called on to break the deadlock.
He said councillors had last year voted to go out to tender for this operation and it seemed curious some councillors were now ignoring the staff recommendations.
The mayor said the NCTC had built up a good deal of community capital and it was "a great shame to us all, I am sure, to see that community capital be lessened”.
However, he said the RRA would provide a far greater recycling expertise to reduce the amount of landfill.
"The tender panel believed they offered significantly higher dollar returns towards community waste and recycling initiatives,” he said.
"In other words, Noosa residents are going to get better bang for their buck if the tender process is sufficiently accurate.”
Cr Pardon said to pull a major funding stream like the tip shop from the NCTC was enough to send a business "down the gurgler”.
"I'm against this because I don't know whether I'm putting Noosa Community Training in jeopardy.”
The successful motion called on the council chief executive officer, Brett de Chastel, to explore means of assistance for how to support Noosa Community Training Centre to deliver its local training programs in the absence of revenue.
However, Cr Pardon said the tip shop turned over $600,000 a year and "I don't know if they're going to get the (necessary) amount of income”.
Cr Stockwell said there were two sides to this story.
"One is a view that the social capital built up by 19years of operation should result in a different outcome,” he said.
"It's one thing to be loyal to an operation and another thing to get best value for our ratepayers to achieve the outcomes that we asked staff to achieve.”
Cr Jackson said it made sense to go to tender and the process was done fairly and the outcome provided for the future.
She was also "very committed” to seeing Briteside staff retained at the shop and NCTC supported by the council.
Ms Lane said after the vote: "It is a shock. I feel so much for my 13 staff, they're absolutely committed.”
NCTC staff member Greg Shallis said of any RRA job offer he and co-worker Col Rodwill might receive: "We're not interested, simple as that. We feel like that we're being discriminated against”.
Peregian-based RRA spokeswoman Lucy Yule, who runs the Trashy Artisans Co-operative, said Briteside staff would be offered jobs there "absolutely”.
"We are aiming to do that, that's the beauty of being local,” she said.
Ms Yule approached RRA about a partnership tender because "they've done fantastic things at other tips”.
Her plans include harnessing the abilities of "underemployed people” and starting a "tinkerage” where people can make things.