Over the past three months Wingecarribee Shire Council has been talking with the community about a proposal to extend the existing Environment Levy beyond 2013.
“A comprehensive and creative range of community engagement activities were undertaken for the Environment Levy proposal survey,” said Councillor Larry Whipper, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee.
“It was particularly pleasing to see our residents show such a high level of interest and support.
“It is not easy to communicate with people living in a local government area made up of three towns and 14 separate villages spread across 2700 square kilometres,“ he said.
In total 5,000 printed surveys were randomly issued throughout the Shire whilst a further 1,000 were distributed at various market days, displays and information sessions. This distribution covered approximately 20 per cent of the Shire’s ratepayers.
A further 305 residents were randomly contacted by phone in a bid to gather a broad demographic snapshot of the level of support for a continuation of the Environment Levy.
“Council received a staggering 1,110 postal replies and 77 on-line survey responses which were subsequently analysed by an independent research company.
“Of the replies received, 79 per cent of telephone respondents and 58 per cent of the online and printed survey respondents were in favour of a continuation of the Environment Levy at the current rate,” Councillor Whipper said.
All submissions, both opposing and supportive, have now been considered and will be included in a future application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). Council will consider a report seeking approval to submit the IPART application at its 22 February 2012 meeting.
“Council recognises conducting a survey of this size is a huge effort and we’d like to thank everyone who provided feedback in response to the proposal to continue our Environment Levy.”
A detailed breakdown of the survey results will be made available upon Council’s public submission to IPART to have the current Environment Levy extended beyond 2013.