Bin collection resumes in Macedon Ranges after snap strike

Bin collection has resumed in the Macedon Ranges after the shire’s waste collector went on snap strike on Wednesday.

Council’s director of assets and operations Dale Thornton said the council had no warning about Wheelie Waste’s strike action.

He said he received a text message from the contractor about 5.45am on Wednesday notifying him that they were suspending rubbish collection in the shire immediately.

Mr Thornton said Wheelie Waste was attempting to pressure the state government into revealing details of its financial assistance package for contractors affected by a recent recycling crisis.

“The impact on residents in our shire could have been enormous – and in part it was,” he said.

Mr Thornton said  the council was in discussions with Wheelie Waste late into Wednesday evening.

Wheelie Waste resumed its normal collection of waste, recycling and garden waste on Thursday.

Extra drivers were put on to empty bins that were left on Wednesday.

“Over the next few days we will work to ensure all missed bins will be picked up as soon as possible,” Mr Thornton said.

“Residents should still put out their bins on their usual collection days.”

It is expected the service will be back to normal by Tuesday.

Macedon Ranges council is one of several Victorian councils paying more to keep using recycling giant Visy to dispose of recyclables since a new policy introduced in China significantly disrupted recycling markets in January.

Visy’s increased expenses in meeting the new standards have flowed on to waste collectors such as Wheelie Waste.

The state government last month announced a $13 million package to help councils offset the increased costs until June 30.

Mr Thornton said Wheelie Waste representatives said the snap strike was called in protest at a lack of detail regarding the government package.

He said Wheelie Waste wanted long term reassurance that the council would continue to use its service until June 30.

However, Mr Thornton said the council did not have details of how much of the government support it would receive.

He said the council would make a decision on whether it was able to continue using Wheelie Waste when the terms of the assistance package were known.

He said the council had committed to using the service at the additional cost, of about $12,000 a week, until then.

Wheelie Waste declined to comment.