Dumping expensive for councils

Dangerous practice: Fairfield Council says it spends more than $1 million each year removing illegally dumped waste like this.

Dangerous practice: Fairfield Council says it spends more than $1 million each year removing illegally dumped waste like this.

WESTERN Sydney councils are spending hundreds and thousands of ratepayers' dollars on the removal of illegally dumped waste in their local government areas (LGAs).

Fairfield Council alone spends $1 million a year, while neighbouring Blacktown Council spends $300,000.

Included in the waste dumped illegally within each area are materials containing asbestos. Both councils say incidents are on the rise.

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone said a spike in the number of illegal dumpings in his LGA was due to the hefty tip levy.

"The high cost of tips in NSW is a major contributor to the growing problem of illegal dumping," he said.

"Asbestos is not a recyclable material and I don't believe a levy should exist to dispose of this material at tips."

He said asbestos had been found in the middle of residential streets, near schools, as well as in local parks and playgrounds.

"Those responsible have displayed a clear disregard for the safety of our community and until something is done to promote the use of tips and other licensed waste facilities, illegal dumping will continue," Councillor Carbone said.

Blacktown Council is experiencing a similar problem.

"Illegally dumped asbestos in public places has increasedin the past three years," a council spokeswoman said.

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 requires licensed waste facilities in NSW to pay a contribution for each tonne of waste received for disposal at the facility.

The levy aims to reduce the amount of waste being disposed of.

But a Blacktown Council spokeswoman said that in October 2013 the mayor Len Robinson wrote to the then-Environment Minister requesting that the NSW Environment Protection Authority consider removing the section 88 levy on asbestos waste to help with reducing the illegal dumping of this material in Western Sydney.

"At the time, the minister responded advising the council that an independent review of the section 88 levy 'did not find that removing the levy on asbestos disposal was a viable option'," she said.

Fairfield Council will write to the Environment Minister Robyn Parker requesting that her department re-evaluate the high tip levy.

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