Johnson v Johnson in the commercial waste stakes

Port Pirie Regional Council chief executive officer Dr Andrew Johnson defended the council’s new commercial waste policy.

This came after builder “Bluey” Johnson suggested the council might be breaching the Local Government Act by failing to distinguish between commercial and domestic users. Council chief Dr Johnson responded to the criticism by saying his organisation had approved fees for domestic waste based on the kinds of vehicles used by residential customers. It had then listed the fee for commercial waste. 

Asked whether it was questionable practice to require weighbridge operators to use "commonsense" when assessing whether a trailer-sized load was commercial, Dr Johnson replied he was unsure about the nature of the question, but that “if a load is asked to be put on a commercial account, it is generally safe to say its commercial – our staff also know our regular customers”. He was unaware that “Bluey” Johnson had formally asked for the tip operation times to change to 8am to 5pm weekdays.

“This would require additional staffing resources and costs which would need to be recovered from users,” he said. “The operations of the transfer station will be reviewed soon.

“Council has written to operators who hold commercial accounts at the transfer station to confirm that the commercial fee applies to all commercial loads regardless of the vehicle they are delivered to the transfer station in. For most not much has changed.” He denied commercial waste depositors would face unreasonable extra costs.

“It reflects the cost of providing the service and the ever-increasing fees and restrictions imposed on council. The transfer station does not make a profit and is subsidised.”