CITY of Stirling Mayor Giovanni Italiano says it is insulting of the State Government to expect to cover less than 5 per cent of the $170,000 Scarborough whale clean-up bill.
The 25 tonne humpback whale washed ashore on Scarborough Beach on November 1, resulting in a four-day clean-up operation funded by the City of Stirling.
Cr Italiano said it was outrageous to expect a local government to cover the costs of what should have been dealt with days earlier by the State Government while the whale was still at sea.
‘It is not the City of Stirling’s responsibility to go out there and clean up a whale that multiple State Government agencies allowed to drift on by until it beached because they were all too confused as to who should act and who had authority, it is just not good enough,’ Cr Italiano said.
‘It is an absolute disgrace and it happened at the hands of many State Government agencies who failed to act when they should have. Ratepayers of any local government should not be shafted with this cost full stop.’
A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Albert Jacob confirmed the State Government had exempted the City of Stirling from the $734 waste levy for the whale carcass and $7246 for the contaminated sand, totalling to $7980.
Cr Italiano said he had written directly to the WA Premier, demanding the State take responsibility for the situation.
‘Our ratepayers want to be reimbursed and I’ve written directly to the Premier to ask for him to step in and sort this mess out,’ he said.
Another humpback was sighted off the coast on November 10. It was intercepted by port authorities and towed 20 nautical miles out to sea.
A Fisheries Minister spokeswoman said the only additional cost from towing the whale was the fuel used by the boat.
‘We attempted to tow the whale out yesterday because it was possible, but it is not always possible, given the state of decomposition and other factors,’ she said.
‘The Fremantle Port Authority (FPA) team and response vessel were already operating on Monday, November 10, and the only additional cost incurred was for fuel, which the FPA absorbed.
Since 1989, 146 humpback whales have been stranded on the WA coastline with 46 washing up in 2009 alone.