Monday, 21 May 2018
Having three levels of government in this country has been important in providing a lot of local services, but it can also be very confusing for local residents. That’s why I have taken it upon myself, as a local community advocate, to make sure that no matter what level of government a local resident needs advocacy for, I will take that cause up for them.
One of the issues I’ve been fighting for locally is to see that our local council increases green waste collection from monthly to fortnightly. Currently, the City of Onkaparinga is the only council in metropolitan Adelaide that does not collect green bins fortnightly. I do believe this is unacceptable. Why does our local community deserve a lower service and standard than other council areas? I’ve been increasingly concerned about this issue, so last year I began an online petition to gauge the impact this was having on residents. I was overwhelmed, and quickly had more than a thousand signatures calling for fortnightly green waste collection.
Looking through the results, I noticed that respondents raised a number of important points. As one person put it, ‘Especially when we have larger block sizes in Onkaparinga than in a lot of other local councils, we desperately need extra green bin collections.’ Suburbs like Aberfoyle Park, Woodcroft, Flagstaff Hill, Onkaparinga Hills and many others are very leafy suburbs. They’re covered by beautiful, large trees, and residents take pride in the presentation of their suburbs. The council encourages residents to have presentable properties, and most residents want to tidy their front and back gardens, but one green bin collection a month is completely inadequate to clear leafy blocks of this size.
I’m also concerned about the potential safety risks. Residents raised issues, like fire hazard, snake, vermin and allergic reactions to grass clippings. One resident said: ‘At this point, I’ve decided that if I mow the lawn to avoid the risk of snakes, or put my clippings in the corner of the garden, leaving them to dry, they become a fire hazard. As mother of a two-year-old, who now enjoys playing outside, neither of these I’m willing to risk.
There were many other concerns raised, but consistent among responses was the frustration and confusion as to why other councils in Adelaide collected green bins fortnightly. As one respondent put it: ‘Every other council does fortnightly collections, I don’t see why our council cannot. I pay enough rates to warrant this.’ This is what it really comes down to. I think it is important that the City of Onkaparinga starts listening to its ratepayers, who are saying clearly that they want the same level of service as other council areas. It’s time to change the decision and to make sure that green bins are collected on a fortnightly basis.