A photo of recycled organics compost product with glass and plastic contaminants at a Treasure Wine Estates vineyard

Council officers receive illegal dumping training

Council enforcement officers across Victoria participated in training last week to help them tackle littering and illegal dumping in their municipalities and regions.

Led by Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and Sustainability Victoria, the training aimed to help local government, Parks Victoria and other land managers act against individuals and companies who illegally dump rubbish in local parks, reserves, alleyways and streets.

Under section 45 of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (EP Act), authorised litter enforcement officers have powers to investigate, remedy and sanction individuals and companies who litter.

EPA Chief Executive Officer Nial Finegan said littering and illegal dumping is a significant issue for communities throughout Victoria – impacting the environment as well as the aesthetic enjoyment of public places.

“Littering and the illegal dumping of household items such as mattresses and unwanted e-waste shows a complete disregard for our environment and our community,” Mr Finegan said.

“Local councils and other land managers play a vital role in enforcing litter and illegal dumping laws. Helping council officers understand the tools available and when to use them will help us more effectively enforce the law and deter this behaviour.”

Running over two days, courses covered EP Act offences and penalties, evidence gathering, surveillance and integrated preventative approaches to managing litter. Participating councils include Ararat, Hepburn, Hume, Darebin, Golden Plains, Macedon Ranges, Surf Coast and Whittlesea.

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said illegal dumping had been identified as one of Victoria’s top 5 litter issues through Victoria’s Litter Report Card.

“This is a broad and serious issue which affects all local government areas across Victoria.

“Through a mix of training, effective engagement, education programs and enforcement, local governments will have the necessary tools to act on illegal dumping and littering and create a cleaner environment for their community,” Mr Krpan said.

EPA also has an Illegal Dumping Strikeforce dedicated to reducing the dumping of large scale industrial waste such as construction and demolition materials and waste tyres.