Page 2164 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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MRS BURKE: I have a supplementary question. Why is the government failing to act on a situation where a man who has been convicted and is now serving a life sentence for murder and a person on a six-figure salary are both entitled to an ACT Housing property while battlers are waiting years for a place to live?

MR HARGREAVES: I have to respond to that. The first thing is that the government is not failing the people of the ACT. Secondly, I suggest that Mrs Burke give us all a look at her copy of her application for employment with Redneck Radio.

Charity bins

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. Can the minister inform the Assembly of the results of the recent crackdown on charity bin dumping around Canberra?

MR HARGREAVES: I thank Ms Porter for her question and her interest in a matter that impacts on some of the most vulnerable members of our community and those trying to assist them. I announced the beginning of the campaign against charity bin dumping on 10 May, when it was apparent that illegal dumping around charity bins was still on the rise, in spite of continuing efforts by government and charity organisations to address the problem through public education.

As members will be aware, the Litter Act 2004 allows for stronger enforcement that enables us to get tough on illegal dumpers. That includes the issuing of on-the-spot fines for people who break the law by dumping items around charity bins and adjacent areas. As part of the crackdown on these illegal dumpers, city rangers targeted illegal dumpers after dark and on weekends and those caught were issued with minimum fines of $200 on the spot. A new sticker advising residents about the penalty for illegal dumping and the fact that the areas were being patrolled was also produced and displayed on charity bins.

I am very happy to report that this crackdown has proved extremely successful. In the short time since the beginning of the campaign, charity groups have reported a significant reduction in illegal dumping around their bins. The Smith Family has reported a 50 per cent reduction. The Salvation Army a 70 to 80 per cent reduction and Oasis Care a massive 90 per cent reduction in the amount of dumping around their charity bins.

Fifteen $200 on-the-spot infringement notices have been issued so far to people caught illegally dumping. We are seeing here enforcement and education working together. People are becoming aware of the risk they are taking in dumping these goods and those doing it are getting caught. It is serving a lesson to others and they are stopping the practice.

Charities do a wonderful job helping the disadvantaged in our community. Illegal dumping places an undue burden on their operations and on the environment through the costs incurred in collecting and disposing of dumped items. The campaign undertaken by the government through the Department of Urban Services has significantly reduced this burden.

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