The Palaszczuk Government is serious about cracking down on illegal dumping and littering and has provided $400,000 to four councils as part of a pilot partnership program to combat this issue.
Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government was providing funding to Gold Coast, Bundaberg, Fraser Coast and Townsville councils to help increase jobs to combat illegal dumping.
“The funding is helping the four councils employ an extra two people each on the ground to investigate and respond to illegal dumping in their regions,” Minister Enoch said.
“Illegal dumping costs Queensland communities millions of dollars each year in management and clean-up expenses, and our government is ensuring councils have the resources needed to protect their communities and the environment.
“This program comes on top of the extra compliance officers across Queensland that have been ensuring businesses are doing the right thing when it comes to waste management, following the introduction of the waste levy on July 1.
“Queensland is currently fighting the war on waste and the Palaszczuk Government is ensuring our communities are equipped to improve waste management.”
From today, other councils across Queensland are also able to apply for grants to help fund extra frontline jobs to combat illegal dumping.
“This program will provide up to $2 million over two years in grants to help local government through targeted training and support programs, boost intelligence and data reporting on illegal dumping activities,” Minister Enoch said.
City of Gold Coast, Bundaberg Regional Council, Fraser Coast Regional Council, and Townsville City Council were selected as partners in the initial pilot program because of high numbers of illegal dumping reports, dumping in built-up areas close to sensitive environmental areas, capacity to increase illegal dumping compliance activity and a demonstrated commitment to achieving compliance outcomes.
Minister Enoch said this new program was part of a suite of initiatives that the Government was implementing to improve waste management in Queensland.
“Earlier this month we released the new Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy in Queensland, which is underpinned by the waste levy that came into effect on July 1,” she said.
“Queensland is generating waste faster than we are growing population, and this Strategy is showing the path forward on how we can reduce waste, increase recycling, cut greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment.”
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said Council was pleased to be part of the partnership trial as illegal dumping had a big impact on the natural environment as well as on ratepayers in clean-up costs.
“The impact of illegal dumping on the Fraser Coast can range from an aesthetic nuisance to environmental harm to flora, fauna and wildlife depending on the type of waste,” he said.
“We live in such a beautiful place abundant with wildlife and our message is simple – don’t rubbish our region.”
Townsville City Council’s Water and Waste Committee Chair Cr Russ Cook said the Queensland Government’s funding program for councils will be vital to target any illegal dumping.
“The funding will allow the council to employ two officers who will work with Department of Environment and Science staff to investigate and take action on illegal dumping.
“The program will fund the officers for six months initially and obviously we will be monitoring any impacts of the levy very closely and providing direct feedback to the government.”
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey thanked the State Government for its partnership approach.
“There is no excuse for illegal dumping. People who do this are harming the environment and causing distress for neighbours and visitors to natural areas,” he said.
“It’s important we minimise waste to landfill but everyone must act responsibly in accordance with the law.”
There are a range of fines that apply for illegal dumping, depending on the circumstances, including fines of up to $667,250 for corporations that are found to be illegally dumping waste.
Any Councils involved in the partnership program prosecuted these offences, then revenue from any fines would be returned to that Council.
Councils may be eligible to apply for funding of up to $200,000. Applications need to be submitted by 6 September.
If councils wish to apply or want more information please visit grants and funding at www.qld.gov.au/litter
More information about the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy is available at www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/waste/recovery/strategy.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch