Hume’s million dollar rubbish problem

2023 Hume council Clean Up Australia Day (Katrina Ferguson).

Zoe Moffatt

Hume council spent almost $5 million removing illegally dumped rubbish in the 2022-23 financial year, with statistics revealing the problem is set to cost ratepayers even more this year.

Councillors discussed the ways to reduce the cost and the frequency of illegal dumping at a meeting on Monday, February 26, with the cost of potential education campaigns fueling the debate.

Cr Sam Misho said money spent to reduce the amount of illegally dumped rubbish in Hume was an investment.

“There were 11,000 illegal dumping incidents in Hume, $4.7 million in clean up costs, $233,000 worth of fines, which I’m not too sure how much of that has been collected,” he said.

“4,881 tonnes of litter and dumped rubbish [were] removed. Craigieburn [has] the highest number of dumping incidents recorded, [and] Broadmeadows [had the] highest incident ratio by number of dwellings.

“Despite the $4.7 million spent to remove illegally dumped rubbish, the actual behaviour is on the upper trend.

“This is not a once off $4.7 million, this is rather perhaps every year. So if statistics are saying it’s actually on an upward trend, which means in 2024 we should see more than $5 million perhaps.”

Cr Misho raised a notice of motion to complete a mailout of an A5 waste information card with a magnet back, along with a barcode to direct residents to council’s website for more information and to arrange for a collection.

The motion also included a hotline number to report failures to satisfy promises made by council or the contractor, and to investigate options to utilise multi media channels to inform the community and focus on multicultural communication.

This was then amended by Cr Trevor Dance that a report comes back to council in regards to the costings to implement the program, following concerns raised about the cost of the program.

Cr Carly Moore seconded the amendment and acknowledged dumping rubbish was an “enormous” problem in Hume.

“I’m certainly happy to support some of these initiatives but I don’t want to commit to a position… without understanding what exactly is this going to cost,” she said.

“[As well as] what are the resources that are going to be involved and what kind of benefits do we expect to see.”

This report is expected to return to council at its next meeting on March 12.