A new regional squad has been established to combat illegal dumping of waste across 14 council areas, including Sutherland Shire, Hurstville, Rockdale and Kogarah.
Environment Minister Mark Speakman said the Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) squad, which covered 670 square kilometres, began operating in July.
Other participating councils are Bankstown, Ashfield, Auburn, Botany Bay, Canada Bay, Canterbury, Marrickville, Randwick, Strathfield and Waverley.
The squad is staffed by officers from Bankstown Council.
It is the third RID squad in Sydney, with other groups operating in western and inner-western areas.
Mr Speakman said it resulted from an extra allocation of $1.7 million from the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.
This program is funded by the state government waste levy, which is paid on top of a fee to cover operating costs by users of designated waste facilities.
‘‘The new super squad will combine the resources of the councils to target illegal dumpers across Sydney through dedicated patrols, investigations and clean-ups,’’ Mr Speakman said.
‘‘RID Squads are one of our most powerful tools in the fight against illegal dumping, which continues to be a major problem for local councils and costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year.’’
Mr Speakman said the government’s target was to reduce the volume of litter by 40 per cent by 2020.
Environment Protection Authority (EPA) waste and resource recovery branch director Steve Beaman said illegal dumpers could face heavy fines, while repeat offenders could face prison time.
‘‘In 2013 the government introduced the toughest penalties in Australia when it increased fines for the ten most serious environmental offences from $1500 to $15,000 for a corporation and from $750 up to $7,500 for an individual,’’ he said.
NEW TOOL MAKES IT EASIER TO REPORT AND MANAGE DUMPING
A new online reporting tool will make it easier to report and manage incidents of illegal dumping.
The EPA will manage the online portal RIDonline in co-ordination with the RID squads.
Initially, it will be open only to registered land managers and agencies, but will be available to the public from early next year.
‘‘RIDonline will not only will facilitate the clean-up and investigation of illegal dumps, but will also enable centralised data collection on illegal dumping sites and trends,’’ Mr Speakman said.
‘‘By capturing centralised data the EPA will be able to build a complete picture of illegal dumping in NSW to gain a better understanding of the behaviour of dumpers and the locations they prefer.’’
Do you think the new RID squad is what’s needed?