The Warwick Waste Facility is set to receive more rubbish from Stanthorpe in the future.
The Warwick Waste Facility is set to receive more rubbish from Stanthorpe in the future. Marian Faa

$3.5M fleet: Investment signals confidence in region

A HUGE $3.5million investment in waste management on the Southern Downs is being touted not only as a signal of confidence in the region but also the development of an environmentally-conscious community.

Cleanaway has spent millions of dollars on a fleet of new waste and recycling collection vehicles after being awarded the seven-year contract to manage the more than 700,000 general waste and recycling wheelie bins collected in the region every year.

Councillor for Agriculture, Environment and Sustainability Cameron Gow said Cleanaway saw a future on the Southern Downs, otherwise they wouldn't invest such a significant amount of money.

"They're looking to get their foot in the door in regional Queensland,” Cr Gow said.

"Part of what they're looking at doing is going around the schools and talking about the environment and recycling and keeping the region clean for future generations. It's not just collecting waste, they're investing in community not just from a business point of view.”

While waste management would remain "business as usual” for residents, Cr Gow said there would be some changes to handling bulk waste behind the scenes.

This included collection trucks transferring more waste to Warwick rather than Stanthorpe. "Part of the tender that went out was moving waste from Stanthorpe to Warwick because it's cheaper to develop a cell at the Warwick landfill facility,” Cr Gow said.

Mayor Tracy Dobie said Cleanaway was awarded the contract as they were offering a good solution at a great rate.

"What we want to do is keep fees and charges for our region as low as we can,” she said.

Cr Dobie said spending money was ordinarily done at the start of a new waste contract so companies could invest in the latest equipment.

The $3.5million spending from Cleanaway has been spent on various vehicles including three general waste side lift trucks, two recyclable side lift trucks, a front lift truck, a hook lift truck and a bin delivery truck.

They will be officially unveiled on Friday.

Rubbish collection days are set to remain the same under the new contract, however, collection times may vary as different routes may be used.

Cr Dobie said community consultation was required before a decision was made about expanding collection to rural areas.

"Some of the things we have to look at is how we expand the pick-up but it has to be financially viable for the residents and for the waste collection as well,” she said. "While it's in town it's relatively easy because it's a pick up at every door.”

JJ Richards and Sons handled domestic collection in Warwick since July 2009 and in Stanthorpe since November 2009.