Media Releases

Local Authorities join forces to combat illegal waste dumping

MEDIA RELEASE 26 September 2014

Bathurst Regional Council (BRC), the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), and the Roads and Maritime Services will increase joint efforts to curb illegal dumping within the region in a coordinated campaign beginning this month.

Bathurst Mayor, Cr. Gary Rush said illegal waste dumping is an ongoing, costly and a highly visible problem in NSW including the Bathurst Region.

"Illegal dumping continues to be a problem right across the country and it's estimated to cost Bathurst Regional Council tens of thousands of dollars a year, not to mention the significant impact and cost on the local environment," Cr. Rush said.

"Bathurst Regional Council is committed to working with the EPA and the Roads and Maritime Services. It's crucial we collaborate with specialist organisations on this important issue in our community," Cr. Rush added.

Roads and Maritime Services Western Regional Manager Phil Standen said there were certain times, such as during the Bathurst races, when there was an increase in illegal dumping.

"We have crews who maintain public spaces such as rest areas in and around Bathurst," Standen said.

"Unfortunately at certain times of the year there is a big spike in dumping of items such as lounge chairs and building rubble which diverts crews and resources away from their role in keeping the facility clean for people to rest and revive," he added.

In most cases the rubbish is domestic waste, such as old white goods, push bikes, lounges, carpet, tyres, clothing and other household items.

Rubbish can also blow into waterways or bushland, or by their nature result in contamination to land.

When hazardous materials such as asbestos or discarded syringes are dumped, the costs associated with the clean-up are very high, often requiring specialist contractors to remove the illegal waste.

Often, items can easily be recycled or disposed of for only a few dollars at the tip.

Councils are often left to clean up the mess utilising resources for reporting, investigating and finally removing the dumped rubbish.

Persons found to be undertaking in illegal activities such as rubbish dumping or even firewood collection from Council and state lands may be issued with penalty notices. (Please see media notes below for details on new fines)

How to Report Illegal Dumping within the Bathurst Region

The local community are encouraged to report incidents to:

Bathurst Regional Council on 6333 6111

The NSW EPA Environment Line on 131 555

NSW Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000

For further information on illegal dumping please contact:

EPA contact: Dr Richard Whyte, Manager Central West 02 6332 7600

Roads and Maritime Services Media Contact: Penny Robins - 02 8588 4919

BRC Contact: Victoria Erskine – 02 6333 6179

Ends

More information: Victoria Erskine Media & PR Officer

Media note:

Key Information about illegal dumping:

·Illegal dumping of waste is classed as an offence under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (1997).

·Fines have recently been increased to further curb illegal activities around illegal dumping and pollution of the Environment. These came into effect on 1 September, 2014 under the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Regulation, Schedule 6.

·In accordance with section 143 of the Regulation, offenders unlawfully transporting or deposition waste were previously fined $750 for Individuals and $1,500 for Corporations. Local Councils can now fine individuals $2,000 or Corporations $4,000. The EPA and other government agencies now have the power to fine offenders $4,000 for Individuals and $8,000 for Corporations.

·Also under section 143, the EPA and other government agencies can fine offenders unlawfully transporting or deposition waste (asbestos or hazardous waste) $7,500 for Individuals and $15,000 for Corporations.