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Recycling crisis in the wake of the Aussie Junk debacle

By 4 August 2009 35

The Greens’ Caroline Le Couteur is having a red hot shot at the Government’s “rabbit in the headlights” approach to the collapse of their recycling services provider at the tips:

    Greens spokesperson on waste, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, today called on Mr Stanhope to ensure a recycling service starts operating at the landfill immediately, even if it is for an interim period.

    “We’ve known since May that Aussie Junk were going under. It’s now August and we’re facing a potentially long period without this recycling service,” Ms Le Couteur said.

    “The tender process will give us more months of limbo. Goods that should be reused are already piling up, and we can’t allow a situation where these end up being dumped in the landfill.

She also makes a good point about the danger of getting Theiss to handle the inflow:

    “I am also concerned that the Government is currently using Theiss, who are the landfill managers, to also manage the Mugga Lane reusables site. There is a potential conflict of interest here, given the fact that Theiss collect money for sending materials to landfill,” Ms Le Couteur said.

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35 Responses to Recycling crisis in the wake of the Aussie Junk debacle
#1
bannister12:28 am, 05 Aug 09

I am outraged by this.

#2
realitycheck8:40 am, 05 Aug 09

“I am also concerned that the Government is currently using Theiss, who are the landfill managers, to also manage the Mugga Lane reusables site. There is a potential conflict of interest here, given the fact that Theiss collect money for sending materials to landfill,” Ms Le Couteur said.

Theiss will be running the Mitchell site as well with complete control over the entire site.

I am interested in how 2 audits conducted on Aussie Junk in the last 2 years came back with the green light.The last audit was conducted by Theiss.Results where given to the government in August 2008 and according to the them showed no issues of concern despite clear evidence of underpayments and breaches of awards and regulations.

The Fair Pay Ombudsman found underpayments of over $300,000 based on exactly the same information given to ACT Nowaste, Theiss Services and the TWU.
The creditors report is laughable and clearly demonstrates that the company was in serious trouble and I would suggest insolvent for at least the last 2 years.

The first audit report conducted by KPMG in 2007 stated that one employee was being paid $80 a weekend regardless of hours worked.He was issued with a group certificate for $4160 but never received a payslip.Also at the first audit 3 employees were not even registered with the employer superannuation fund and the staff had never been paid any public holiday entitlements, ever!

3 staff at Mitchell received their first superannuation contributions in July 2007 and some of the other staff in Sep 2007 only after complaining to Theiss, TWU and ACT Nowaste.we were told clearly by Aussie Junk that because of this we were going to be sacked as soon as possible.
My super statement reads date joined employer 12 Dec 2005 – date joined fund 10 July 2007.My next contribution was in Feb 2008 again after making complaints.The other staff members were in the same boat or worse and in fact to this day one employee has 3 group certificates and still not registered with the fund.

The breaches were blatant and numerous and clear to prove as fact.
Despite this I received an email from Hargreaves stating that there is “No evidence of systematic underpayment or superannuation not being paid”.

I suggest that the audit reports be made available for scrutiny and an investigation into this boys club be conducted.If the Government was unaware of the situation and as claimed was acting on information supplied by Theiss then why are they not investigating the matter now instead of rewarding them with more control and ultimately more money.

Clearly without an investigation the public can only be let to assume that the 2008 audit report was either fraudulent or the Government is not telling the truth – which one is it?

#3
VYBerlinaV8_the_one_9:00 am, 05 Aug 09

Don’t assume large audit companies will do a thorough job for a small engagement. They’ll throw a few of their grads at it and call it done.

#4
realitycheck9:38 am, 05 Aug 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Don’t assume large audit companies will do a thorough job for a small engagement. They’ll throw a few of their grads at it and call it done.

I agree with you but on this occasion the audit was conducted because of our complaints.

I have an email from Stanhope explaining how they were made aware of complaints in Sep 2007 and how the Gov’t instructed that the audits be conducted.
I would have assumed that if complaints of underpayments and breaches of the award were the basis of the audit, then those issues of concern would be looked at.

The auditor from KPMG rang me personally and rather apologetically stated that the report was done and that issues of pay need to be taken up with our union.
He then stated that the some of the conduct bordered on criminal and that Aussie Junk was given 6 months to fix up pay & super.

#5
Holden Caulfield11:07 am, 05 Aug 09

So you mean I can no longer just chuck my recyclable stuff into the yellow lidded bin and consider myself an environmental ambassador!

#6
carmer19205:35 pm, 05 Aug 09

Accusing the Goverenmnt and Thiess of being fraudulent, Not a good idea, your playing with the BIG BOYS, NOW. They will squash you like the mouth peace you are, all you do is open your mouth and allege, allege,allege,

#7
carmer19205:35 pm, 05 Aug 09

Accusing the Goverenmnt and Thiess of being fraudulent, Not a good idea, your playing with the BIG BOYS, NOW. They will squash you like the mouth peace you are, all you do is open your mouth and allege, allege,allege,

#8
Hells_Bells745:48 pm, 05 Aug 09

What’s not a good idea is threatening people on other’s behalf.

#9
carmer19205:53 pm, 05 Aug 09

just telling how it is, there some big fish to try and fry.

#10
A Yong12:19 pm, 29 Aug 09

Good morning

As a sustainable conscious citizen and a regular visitor of Aussie Junk now known as the Recycle centre at the Mitchell site I would like to place my views on the new process at this site since re-opening in August 09.

It appears that it has taken on a boutique concept with only the best of recycling items to be sold at a much higher price then before

eg: a washing machine with functions not usable/broken and a sign on it saying no warranty or guarantee for the salable price of approx $170.00
May I ask all intellegent people…. who would be fool enough to pay that with no assurity of any description of this item working in any manner?

We use to be able to go out there even for a screw or any insignificent item that we may find so that we did not have to go to the hardware shop to pay for a new one or maybe you were missing part of a blind and you just needed a cap end or a bracket which you cannot buy in a shop unless you order a whole new blind.
These are just an example of many items that you were able to find at Aussie Junk

The concept of recycling is also Reuse as the new sign states in the shed but the sign and the approach are a tad contrary to the point of contradiction!

The odds and sods and the not so perfect saleable items are going where? [Landfil or ?]

The avegae citizen no longer has the option of choosing such items.

Guess it all boils down to the almighty dollar and my view is every small insignificant item is saleable with a monitory return as well as a huge reduction on the sustainablilty for this country

A smaller price with a lot more items insignificant as they may appear can suply you with an excellent turnover and a good monitary return

And it practises the concept overall of what a Sustaibale Recycle Reuse Centre is all about.

What say you?

#11
Fluges1:29 pm, 29 Aug 09

I tried to drop off a big analogue TV at Aussie Junk a few weeks ago. It was in good condition, but they wouldn’t accept it ‘cos it was black and ‘people only want silver TVs’.

#12
damien haas2:00 pm, 29 Aug 09

i preferred the setup when revolve was at the belconnen landfill.

accept the business model failed, and go back to a system that proved it worked. it satisfied several objectives – employment, recycling, decreased landfill.

#13
A Yong2:30 pm, 29 Aug 09

Fluges
Touche’

I saw a kitty litter tray brand new with the original sale price tag when it was purchased form a retail outlet for $9.99 and it was for sale at Mitchell on MOnday for $10.00

Maybe if your TV was 18cr gold frame they would have accepted it

Your able to barter with David Jones and Meyers if you want to buy an item at a lower price
But….It is not possible to barter at the Recycle Centre!

It is a joke in my opinion

#14
Whatsup2:49 pm, 29 Aug 09

Just let Revolve run it on a temporary basis until they get things sorted out.

#15
Thumper3:19 pm, 29 Aug 09

I tried to drop off a big analogue TV at Aussie Junk a few weeks ago. It was in good condition, but they wouldn’t accept it ‘cos it was black and ‘people only want silver TVs’.

So much for recycling hey?

#16
A Yong8:39 pm, 29 Aug 09

I beg to dispute that comment :Whats Up”

A large sustainable company should alreay be aware of the sustainable program and what can be reused

Heard the expression ” U can fool some of the people some of the time
but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”

#17
georgesgenitals6:36 am, 30 Aug 09

If you try to run this sort of thing as a business, a business is what you will get. The ACT govt should run this themselves, with a view to achieving the objectives damien haas referred to above.

#18
yellowredme4:50 pm, 01 Sep 09

Just went to Aussie Junk (or whatever the new name is) in Mitchell, I was disappointed that all the lovely junk is gone and has been replaced by flash but expensive second hand goods. As a Uni student on a budget, the tip shop was my one stop version of DJs, Harvey Norman and Bunnings, I could usually find a decent item there to serve my purpose, will have to take my cheap-ass custom elsewhere! It is now more like a charity shop than a tip shop.

A fellow who seemed to be in charge asked what I thought of the new look, I replied that for me, the good stuff was no longer there (I was looking for plastic plant pots of a particular colour, but the cheapest pot was terracotta at comparable prices to Bunnings), they have worked very hard to tidy up the yard, but I previously didn’t mind the mess as long as I could usually find what I needed.

Where do the not so lovely but useful bits go? It would be good if they could be used again before being broken down for recycling or going to landfill. I drove away looking at the pile of ‘junk’ over at the tip … if only I could have a rifle through that!

Steptoe’s Daughter.

#19
Thumper7:45 pm, 01 Sep 09

Go to revolve out near Mugga. Still heaps of stuff for a song…

#20
busgirl8:38 am, 02 Sep 09

Yes, bring back Revolve.

#21
peterh10:34 am, 02 Sep 09

Thumper said :

Go to revolve out near Mugga. Still heaps of stuff for a song…

can you drop stuff off to revolve? is there a collection point out there at all? after my very recent move, I would love to be able to give revolve some unwanted goods – I will be damned if aussie junk can have it.

#22
Thumper11:47 am, 02 Sep 09

Yep, they seem to take unwanted goods.

#23
phototext2:31 pm, 02 Sep 09

I was thinking of riding out to the Mitchell place tomorrow, is the shop still open ?

#24
tombo3:56 pm, 02 Sep 09

Doesn’t it seem a little strange that a multinational company like theiss would even be in this business?

Considering they get paid by the territory to dispose of material surely that would mean they have little incentive to find new markets and to maximise the turnover of material. The shop is clean but were is all the stock?

#25
Skidbladnir4:24 pm, 02 Sep 09

This has again been pursued in the Assembly by Caroline Le Couteur (have a look at Hansard roughly around p3829 under heading “Recycling”, proof (as in non-final) copies are up over here)

#26
Thumper7:28 pm, 02 Sep 09

phototext, yep, still open…

#27
che7:36 pm, 02 Sep 09

Since last Friday Mitchell is now open again for selling and taking stuff and will be run by Thiess. In fact the contract was with Thiess previously and they just sub=contracted it to Aussie Junk.

Mugga on the other hand is being run by Theiss only on an interim basis whilst the new tender is put out to replace the now defunct Aussie Junk.
Theiss are not selling any items from Mugga, but they are receiving items at their discretion. Ie only what they can sell, which is the whole point I guess.

#28
Thumper7:43 pm, 02 Sep 09

However, Revolve is still running at Mugga…

#29
tombo8:47 am, 03 Sep 09

Thiess running the site at Mitchell is one thing as yes they are responsible for having a re-use center as part of their contract, but why are they tendering for the old revolve/aussie junk operation at mugga lane?

How can such a small business be of interest to such a big company? Is it just a PR stunt to make them look environmentally responsible, or does their motivation have more sinister undertones as The Greens and Revolve would have people believe?

#30
phototext9:06 am, 03 Sep 09

Cheers Thumper.

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