Council abandons litter crackdown
A CRACKDOWN on litterbugs in the Gympie region will not be enforced by council officers, despite an invitation from the State Government to take the job on.
The Department of Environment and Resource Management has offered blanket delegations to all councils in Queensland for the littering and illegal dumping provisions contained in its 2011 Waste Reduction and Recycling Act.
But the attempt at "cost-shifting" the onus for policing the new laws was rejected point blank by Gympie Regional Council last week amid warnings the laws are complicated, will cause significant confusion and complaints, and will be a "massive impost on council staff" to police.
"This is absolute, blatant cost-shifting," councillor Ian Petersen said.
He said the description of the new vehicle littering and illegal dumping offences was the "biggest load of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo I would ever want to see anywhere".
Deputy mayor Tony Perrett said he was amazed the State Government had given local authorities the option of whether or not they wanted to enforce the laws.
Mayor Ron Dyne said he didn't "doubt for one minute" that once the rest of Queensland's local councils also rejected the offer, DERM would take that option away and make enforcement mandatory.
"That's all well and good so long as we get a cheque with it," Cr Perrett said.
Under the new Act, members of the public who see someone littering or dumping waste illegally are asked to record their number plate and vehicle details and visit the website wwwderm.qld.gov.au to report it.
The delegations also refer to a type of litter that is "material that may become waste" - unsolicited advertising material such as circulars, flyers, promotional material and free newspapers and magazines.
It is not considered "unsolicited" if the newspaper is delivered to premises, unless those living there have told the publisher or distributor they do not want to receive the paper, the council heard.
It is also not considered "unsolicited" if the material is inserted or folded into a newspaper the homeowner has had delivered on request.