ILLEGAL WASTE FORUM

8 SEPTEMBER 2021

The Illegal Waste Forum was held by Keep Victoria Beautiful and the Litter Enforcement Officer Network (LEON) in partnership with SCRGroup and MRA Consulting.

 

The Litter Enforcement Officer Network leads in knowledge of Illegal Waste in Victoria and this Illegal Waste Forum was an opportunity for all land managers to be heard and provide feedback on potential collaborative projects.

 

Over 100 attendees registered to provide input on how illegal waste is impacting them and participate in a discussion on how Victorian landmanagers could work together better to reduce these impacts. This included metropolitan and regional council representatives, state government agencies, NGOs, charities, corporations, and residents of Victoria.

 

A summary of key outcomes is provided below, including insights from the moderated discussion. It was clear more time was required to allow all attendees to contribute, so Keep Victoria Beautiful is hosting separate sessions to continue this discussion. Links to these sessions can be found in the next steps.

Purpose

  1. Explore the scale and impacts of illegal waste in Victoria

  2. See how different land managers are affected

  3. Participate in moderated discussions on issues your organisation faces

  4. Call to action on a program to assist Councils in assessing, measuring and reducing illegal waste

  5. Call for interested parties to participate in a program to address illegal dumping facilitated by Keep Victoria Beautiful

Presenter slides

Recording

Illegal_Waste_Forum_8-9-21
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Key Outcomes

Travis Finlayson, Litter Prevention Champion at Monash City Council, gave an overview of the state of illegal waste in Victoria.

  • COVID-19 has compromised waste investigations and increased the amount of waste presented.

  • Landfills and transfer stations being closed to the general public have been a factor affecting illegal waste.

  • A significant increase in the land fill levy is placing higher pressure on controlling business costs.

  • The Environment Protection Act 2017 is a powerful new framework for waste authorities.

Clare Moran, Senior Program Manager at EPA and Clare Dawson, Program Leader at EPA, provided an overview of the Environment Protection Act 2017 which is now in force. Key changes include:

  • greater penalties for dangerous waste and larger volumes of illegal waste,

  • new penalty structure including volume-based penalties and differentiation between natural persons and body corporates,

  • clearer powers for authorised officers, and

  • better enforcement tools for authorised officers.

 

Amy Wait, Team Leader at EPA, gave an overview of EPA’s report waste from vehicles program. The number of reports, location and waste type was presented for regional and metropolitan Victoria, with more reports received in metropolitan Victoria and large regional cities.

 

Clare Moran, Senior Program Manager at EPA, gave an overview of the EPA’s Waste Crime Prevention Directorate, which was created to reduce risk of harm to the environment and community through prevention, detection and enforcement against waste crimes.

 

Samuel Lawson, Research and Project Coordinator at Keep Victoria Beautiful, presented an overview of the 2019-20 Annual Illegal Waste Survey.

 

  • 330,000 incidents of illegal waste cost Victorian Councils $88,967,000.

  • Councils face general challenges with resources, time, commercial operators, cultural/communication barriers.

  • Councils face critical barriers with training, policies or processes that inhibit the ability to enforce.

  • The staff, cost and networks were then presented to see council processes when responding to illegal waste, which shows how a best practice response can minimise costs for some councils.

  • There is not one best practice response. The best practice response varies for Councils around Victoria. However, collaborative projects between organisations in one region show clear benefits.

  • Regional anti-dumping campaigns, MOUs to increase enforcement and consistent state-wide enforcement were shown as examples of collaborative projects.

 

Chris Mercier, A/Senior Manager Enforcement and Regulatory Services at Parks Victoria, presented the impacts of illegal waste on Parks Victoria and how collaboration could be improved.

  • 256 authorised officers at Parks Victoria cover 4.1 million hectares of land, with 174 reports of illegal waste costing over $1M per annum.

  • Parks Victoria is intelligence led and risk based, using technology like RPAS, covert cameras and their own intelligence reporting system to monitor and pursue incidents which pose the most risk to environment or community.

  • Building materials from household renovations, green waste and liquid waste are key issues and offenders often state that it is too expensive to take household rubbish to the tip.

 

Gail Wilkins, Loss Prevention and Sustainability Manager at SVDP, highlighted the cost of illegal waste to the charitable sector at over $3M per annum and increasing.

  • Broader costs of illegal waste include staff time and staff moral, plus the destruction of high quality donated goods.

  • SVDP use signage, education, barriers and CCTV as a proactive and preventative approach to illegal waste.

  • SVDP experiences different responses from Councils as their nearest waste authority across Victoria. Some councils will cooperate, assisting SVDP with enforcement using information (CCTV) provided. This results in the greatest decrease in illegal waste. Other councils will not assist and illegal waste persists, growing in the area. In this circumstance EPA will be contacted and often the illegal waste will slowly taper off.

 

 

Common themes raised by attendees (chat and Q&A)

 

  • A persistent and increasing issue of rogue clothing bin operators placing bins on land that is not Council land.

  • A lack of enforcement options are available on publicly accessible land, where EPA can not prioritise incidents over large scale or hazardous incidents.

  • A lack of funding or resources for unauthorised land managers.

 

Moderated discussion

 

The moderated discussion sought to understand how land managers successfully respond to illegal waste, how land managers could work together better and what the outcomes of future collaboration looked like to attendees.

 

  • Successful responses to illegal waste were highlighted. These included:

    • DHHS or MUDs specific programs, including use of letter drops

    • Inspecting all reports using best practice (dumped rubbish tape, cards, investigation)

    • Encouraging reporting using different tools

    • Use of surveillance and signage

    • Use of a dedicated enforcement officer

 

  • The importance of increasing collaboration between officers, EPA and other agencies was emphasised. It was suggested this could be achieved by meeting with stakeholders/partners regularly. These types of ‘coordination meetings’ should be built into organisational strategies to make time to build relationships. This relationship building was seen as key to how land managers could work together better, however there was limited examples available.

 

  • The best outcome of future collaboration looks like:

    • Funding assistance for waste authorities

    • Better sharing of surveillance information

    • Funding for a state-wide lead like LEON

    • Common education campaigns

    • Common portals to collect and share data

Presenter slides

Get involved by joining collaborative projects or contributing in your own way.

Thank you to our event sponsors