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When researching the problem of illegal waste in Victoria it became clear that there was no robust data. To support the work of the Litter Enforcement Officer Network, robust data was required and it was decided that Keep Victoria Beautiful, as an independent organsation would develop a survey to collect data from all 79 Victorian councils on illegal waste.
This survey was funded by Keep Victoria Beautiful to provide robust and reliable statewide data that will drive improved state government policy and support the Litter Enforcement Officer Network.
The Annual Illegal Waste Survey was developed to understand the scale and impacts of illegal waste in Victoria.The survey found that illegal waste is destructive to the environment and can be hazardous to wildlife. Councils reported injury to wildlife and contamination, but most councils do not monitor the environmental impact of illegal waste. Incidental exposure,
contamination and fire hazard puts communities at risk when incidents of illegal waste occur, with councils reporting harm to community members occurring.
In addition to social and environmental impacts, illegal waste cost Victorian councils $88,967,000 in 2019-20. This cost is primarily spread over the northern, western and southeastern regions, with many councils experiencing higher costs per incident because of their internal relationships and processes for responding to illegal waste. A better response using ‘educational enforcement’ was seen by councils that emphasised the importance of investigating illegal waste.
Officers reported an increase in illegal waste reports and community complaints from 2018-19. Specifically increased dumping of hard rubbish on nature strips, green waste, mattresses and construction waste.
Metropolitan councils generally have the lowest number of illegal waste incidents per capita but higher costs per incident, whereas interface councils, northwestern and western regional councils experience the opposite.
Councils reported the top five challenges in responding to illegal waste as organisational processes, volumes of illegal waste, dumped green waste, a lack of resources and a lack of time. Most of these were seen as key limiting
factors that needed to be addressed before improving elsewhere.
Finally, councils were able to request support to assist them in reducing illegal waste. Council requests were broadly about providing more
advocacy, collateral, education, financing, networking, and training.
Report funded and completed by Keep Victoria Beautiful, as an independent not for profit.
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