'Can't understand': Gladstone ratepayers to pay $174K bill
DESPITE a targeted council media campaign ratepayers are footing the bill for widespread illegal dumping.
Last financial year there were 116 reports of illegal dumping, which cost about $1500 to clean up, transfer and investigate. That's $174,000 of ratepayers' cash.
As part of Gladstone Regional Council's illegal dumping and litter-prevention strategy, the Don't Dump in My Backyard campaign aims to raise awareness about the region's waste issues and how to dispose of rubbish responsibly.
Last year the council dropped the disposal charge for small rubbish loads to make its waste facilities more accessible to residents.
But Gladstone mayor Matt Burnett said most people dumped rubbish illegally because they simply did not want to pay.
"It's not an accessibility or room issue," he said.
"We have plenty of transfer stations and a landfill that is big enough to be used by the whole of central Queensland.
"You can take a 240-litre wheelie-bin load to the tip for free and the fees for bigger sizes are very reasonable.
"Most commonly dumped items like gas bottles, scrap metal and automotive batteries are also free to dispose of.
"I can't understand why people do it."
WHEN WE ARE OPEN:
Fines up to $6000 are imposed on those caught illegally dumping and, morew often then not, offenders were caught, Cr Burnett said.
"Even people who dump letters or bills with their names and address on it, it's very easy to catch an offender even if it's a witness who reports it," he said.
The council recently organised for the Agnes Water transfer station to be opened for longer hours so residents had more time to use the facility.
"If we don't see a decrease in illegal dumping by the end of next financial year the council will take further action," Cr Burnett said.