12:56 PMScorn for the carbon tax and climate change.
Please see Manningham's 'Council Plan 2012-2017' and 'Financial Strategy 2013-2023' and also the prior years budget.
When an unplanned expense comes up, what does our council do? Turn to the ratepayers again and bill them for it, off course!
A good example of the Councils approach to obtaining money can be seen in how they responded to the cost of the proposed Carbon Tax.
We all have had to deal with increasing water, gas and electricity bills. The promised carbon tax (plus John Brumby's Desalination plant) are largely behind these price increases. (The most recent increase in water rates was dramatic from $1.77/kL to $2.58/kL for step 1 [45% increase], and $2.08/kL to $3.04/kL for step 2 [46% increase]).
Many of us have taken steps to reduce our costs – chasing down the best prices for gas and electricity, changing to fluorescent or LED light globes, installing power saving electricity switches, changing to native or less water dependent gardens and so on.
But how has the Manningham Council dealt with their increase in costs arising from the coming carbon tax?
When you read the documents the council produces you see they are deeply concerned about global warming and about environmental sustainability. You might even think they would set a shining example for the rest of us on how to deal with these very important issues.
No way. You have to be joking!
Consider page 8 of the prior years budget (2012/13) where the council goes into detail on the impact of the carbon tax. In that budget it says the total impact of the carbon tax on the council will be about $1.2 million
"Introduction of a carbon price by the Federal Government commencing at a fixed price of $23 per tonne from 1 July 2012 and increase costs by $1.2 million in 2012/13, principally in electricity and gas costs, waste services (tipping costs) and construction costs in the capital program. These additional costs are not able to be absorbed by Council and are one of the key reason for the upwards movement in the general rate and waste charges from those forecast in the Financial Strategy adopted on 28 June 2011”
See page iv of the 2012/13 Annual Budget concerning the waste charges for residents.
"The cost of providing waste services has been significantly impacted by the introduction of the Price on Carbon on 1 July 2012. It is forecast that the Price on Carbon will add approximately $555,000 to waste costs in 2012/13. Council is not able to absorb these costs, and therefore the costs will be reflected in the user pays charges for 2012/13."
Finally see page 15 of the current Financial Strategy.
"... an annual increase in the average Council rates payable per property of 5.0% in all years except in 2012/13, where the Carbon Tax created the need for an additional call on ratepayers of $664,000 and the average increase in 2012/13 rates was set at 6.0% rather than the 5.0% as previously forecast (excluding Carbon Tax)."
So a $555,000 increase on waste charges for residents plus a $664,000 increase in rates is a $1.219 million increase due to the carbon tax.
The council calculated how much the carbon tax would cost them and immediately passed the entire cost onto you and me in our rates and waste charges. They did this starting last year. And because this was a percentage increase, and because our rates increase by a percentage each year, the cost of the carbon tax will stay in our rates into the future.
A most enlightening paragraph in the 2012/13 budget is on page 44.
"The proposed budget for 2012/13 shows that the impact of Price on Carbon adds 1% to rate revenue requirements. These increases in costs have been factored into the 2012/13 budget as the Council has decided not to accept any cost shift related to the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Future legislation.”
How about that! The council simply decided they are not going to accept any cost increase because of the Federal Governments Clean Energy Legislation. They just decided they are not going to be pay any increases in their gas, electricity or other bills because of the carbon tax.
I wish I could do that, simply decide on my own that I will not accept any increase in the cost of my electricity and gas bills and then pass on all increases for someone else to pay!
No shining example here. No example example from our Council on how to be a responsible, concerned citizen in these challenging times.
The Bottom Line.
It would appear the Manningham Council is only deeply concerned about climate change when it suits them, when they can use it as a reason to increase their rates, fees and charges or when they can generate more easy work for themselves. When it comes to changing their ways and reducing the cost of their activities, there is nothing to see folks.
Apparently the carbon tax is not for people like council workers but instead for lesser mortals. Council workers, it seems, cannot be asked to reduce their consumption of carbon creating electricity or gas. It seems it is unreasonable to ask them to reduce their 'carbon footprint'. However, when it comes to us lesser mortals, we need to reduce our 'carbon footprint' both at work and at home.
13 Aug 2013.
Some may say that Manningham Council has taken other measures to reduce their 'carbon footprint'.
Have you read the 2013/14 Midyear Budget Review? The utility costs for both the Library at the Pines and the MC2 building have gone up.
The cost of electicity, gas and water at MC2 went up so much more than expected that it required a change to the budget. MC2, from what I heard, was supposed to be a show case for environmental efficiency. Apparently it requires much more gas, electricity and water than first expected - so much more that the budget had to be changed. As discussed elsewhere, the most probable increases took place with gas and electricity both of which contribute mainly to heating and/or cooling.
Also the cost for running the library increased. Rental costs increased and so did the gas, electricity and water bills. As I mentioned elsewhere, it would be interesting if the libraries water usage was to go up unexpectedly. It is more likely that gas and electricity costs increased. And as mentioned before these contribute mainly to heating and cooling.
So has the council reduced it's 'carbon footprint'? It seems their staff and the staff of their associates in MC2 like to stay warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather and they run up the electricity and gas bills without a care in the world. After all, they don't need to pay for it. We do.
20 Aug 2014.
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