Kingborough residents are dealing with the failure of a basic Council service, with kerbside waste collection not being undertaken as scheduled for many homes and businesses.

A lot of residents might be forgiving given the collection issue stems from a deliberately lit fire destroying four trucks at the contractor, Aussie Waste’s, facility in Mornington.

But this is not an isolated incident when it comes waste collection in Kingborough and that is why I want to summarise some of the issues that have been impacting waste collection over the last five months. 

On 23 October last year I was contacted by a number or residents across Kingston and Blackmans Bay about a failure to collect kerbside bins.  I asked a question at that night's Council meeting which was taken on notice, and I got the following answer at the next meeting.

13 November – Question on Notice

At the Council meeting on 23 October 2017, Cr Winter asked the following question without notice to the General Manager, with a response that the question would be taken on notice:

“What was the problem with kerbside waste collection in Kingston and Blackmans Bay today?”

Officer’s Response:

The cause of the widespread missed collections on 23 October 2017 was as a result of a mechanical breakdown of multiple Aussie Waste collection vehicles, including the standby vehicle. Enquiries were also made as to why Council was not notified that a substantial delay might be likely and when delayed collection would be likely to occur.   Aussie Waste responded that they didn’t really know how long the truck was going to be unavailable until it was too late. The bins were subsequently collected.

So on that occasion, multiple mechanical issues forced the trucks to not arrive at all, and then management neglected to inform Council of the problem.  Following from this particular incident I kept getting contacts from residents everywhere from Snug to Taroona, but particularly in Taroona, so I asked about this again:

27 November – Question on Notice

Kerbside Waste Collection

Previous answers to my question regarding Council's Kerbside Waste Collection service described:

  • 'widespread' missed collections across Kingborough;
  • multiple Aussie Waste vehicle failures;
  • Aussie Waste being unable to say when bins would be collected.

In the weeks following these service issues that impacted almost every area from Snug to Taroona, I have been contacted by Taroona residents outlining repeated failures to collect waste and recycling and rubbish being left on the side of the road.  I understand the issue also impacted Blackmans Bay collection.

  • What measures are being put into place to rectify these service failures?
  • Does Council believe that its contractor is meeting its service obligations?
  • What plans does Council have to review kerbside waste collection?

Officer’s Response:

From discussions with the contractor it appears that many of the recent issues have been associated with change/loss of drivers. At a meeting with the contractor, Council Officers reiterated the need to deliver the service in a timely, quality and safety focussed way and has sought for additional backups/support to be provided to ensure this happens. This includes reliability of collection vehicles and access to appropriately trained drivers. If the contractor is unable to deliver on timely, safe and quality service then they are not meeting their service obligations and the recent service issues are examples of this. The current waste and recycling contract expires in October 2018, with an option for a two year extension.   A report will be submitted for Council consideration on the current waste and recycling contract and options available for either extending or re-tendering.

Since then, Council made the decision not to extend the contract and will to go to market within the next few months. However, that does not help the current situation whereby the contractor limping on at best and almost certainly in breach of its contract.  I know of at least one other day (14 February 2018) where trucks were unavailable and pickups were missed.  

Just today, in the midst of all the other issues, yet another Aussie Waste truck broke down and was unable to collect in Taroona.

Council staff are managing the contract the best they can and it appears as though most residents have now had their waste collected with an alternative waste service, Veolia currently plugging gaps Aussie Waste is unable to fill.  The best long-term outcome will be that the tender process can be competed as soon as possible and a new arrangement put in place.

Update 14 March:
At the Council meeting on 13 March, 2018 I asked a number of questions about the Aussie Waste contract.  Answers included:

  • Aussie Waste is in breach of contract
  • Council cannot be confident Aussie Waste can complete its contract until it acquires new vehicles.  Alternate contractors are still being used.
  • Aussie Waste has received two formal notices about its performance.  The first was in relation to the performance of its fleet after numerous vehicles broke down late in 2017, leading to service failures.  The second notice was issued after those same vehicles were destroyed by fire.