Target on rogue dumpers

Waste is being dumped around Melton. Photo by Damjan Janevski. 238166_03

Benjamin Millar

Rogue operators illegally dropping waste across Melton dumping hotspots are exploiting legal loopholes, according to a frustrated councillor.

Coburn ward councillor Ashleigh Vandenberg is campaigning for more powers to tackle waste removal cowboys flouting what she sees as a lax monitoring system.

Cr Vandenberg warned that rubbish dumping is a serious environmental concern that can pose health risks to the local community.

“A growing amount of construction waste is being dumped on public and private properties which could potentially lead to contamination issues,” she said.

Under current state legislation, waste removal operators are not required to be licensed and don’t have to provide any evidence of proper waste disposal.

Cr Vandenberg said some rogue operators appear to be exploiting this by dumping rubbish that they should be taking to a recycling facility.

“Unfortunately, when this waste is dumped on private property it becomes a burden on landowners to clear,” she said.

“Likewise, if it’s dumped at parks or road reserves, council is left to deal with it.”

Rogue operators are also undercutting legitimate Melton businesses by offering cheaper rubbish removal services, according to Cr Vandenberg, then dumping the waste in the community.

“It is not just the undercutting of the market that is a concern, Melton locals are doing the right thing by hiring waste removal services and not receiving the services they are paying for,” she said.

While welcoming changes to the Environmental Protection Act that will help regulate waste disposal, Cr Vandenberg would like to see increased monitoring from the EPA and firmer action against operators found to be illegally dumping rubbish.

“I’ve proposed that council investigate the introduction of a licensing and monitoring system that would include requiring operators to be licensed and to provide evidence of how the waste was disposed of,” she said.

“If implemented, it would help ensure that waste removal operators in our city dispose of waste properly.”

Residents who see dumping occur are meanwhile urged to record any details including licence plate numbers and report it to the EPA if it’s on private land and council if it’s on parks and road reserves.

“I’d also like to remind residents to make the most of council’s waste entitlements for residential quantities including drop off at the Melton Recycling Facility and hard waste collection,” Cr Vandenberg said.