LLMT helps save Darebin thousands of dollars
Darebin City Council’s Litter Prevention Officer has successfully used information in the Victorian Litter Action Alliance’s (VLAA) Local Litter Measurement Toolkit (LLMT) business case template to support the appointment of a total of three new staff over two years and significantly improve management of illegal dumping investigations and prosecutions.
Darebin City Council is located in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, between five and 15 kilometres from Melbourne CBD. With a population of 146,797 as of June 2013, close to 34% of Darebin’s residents were born overseas with around 29% from a non-English speaking background.
The City of Darebin is an established residential, industrial, commercial, cultural and educational municipality, with substantial parklands, embracing parts of Alphington, Bundoora, Fairfield, and Macleod as well as the suburbs of Kingsbury, Northcote, Preston, Reservoir and Thornbury.
Each year Darebin City Council receives thousands of reports of illegally dumped waste (see figure 1). These reports, along with litter management, cost ratepayers around $500,000 annually to investigate and remove. In 2010 alone there were 4,773 such reports prompting Darebin City Council to apply, successfully, for a Litter Prevention Officer through EPA Victoria’s 2011-13 Litter Prevention Officer Program.
The appointed Litter Prevention Officer, Russell Gladigau, was to focus on litter and illegal dumping education and enforcement and, by the end of the program, to have developed a business case to support the continuation of his position.
To prepare for the business case, Russell collected data over 18 months including costs and fine revenue, and council’s costs relating to investigating and prosecuting illegal dumping incidents and whether there was a financial profit or loss to do so. He developed a spreadsheet to track his investigations from the initial report all the way through to a result at the Magistrate’s Court. This spreadsheet was a precursor to the current VLAA LLMT spreadsheet which Russell now uses, and allowed this long term data to be collected and managed consistently and effectively.
This information was inserted into the VLAA LLMT business case template and used by Darebin City Council for additional resources at budget time.
The business case for council to appoint an ongoing litter prevention officer which Russell provided input, was submitted to the Executive Management Team and was successful and the position is now ongoing. In the following year, another business case was approved by the Executive Management Team which resulted in the appointment of a second full time Litter Prevention Officer and a Assistant Litter Prevention Officer. The team has since investigated thousands of cases of illegal dumping saving Darebin City Council over $200,000 in the 2013/14 financial year and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fine revenue recouped over the past three years.
This additional capacity has allowed council to invest in eleven litter related surveillance cameras and to develop a Surveillance Camera policy and guidelines for their use in monitoring illegal dumping hotspots. It has also allowed accurate data to be captured which supports council to be able to provide the resources needed to manage, control, enforce and educate residents about illegal dumping and litter.
“It is important for council and residents to keep working together in a proactive way to achieve an outcome of maintaining Darebin as a liveable and attractive City; our focus is to keep Darebin free of littering”.
Mohamed Elhedini and Russell Gladigau, Darebin City Council
Darebin City Council receives a large number of reports of illegal dumping on a daily basis which can be a challenge for the litter prevention team to attend and collect data on. However over the past few years the litter prevention team has clearly demonstrated the value in collecting and managing this data.
Other challenges Darebin City Council face with its illegal dumping program include:
Consultation with internal business units and other council departments to promote Litter Free Darebin and to develop surveillance camera policies and guidelines.
Engaging the community, especially the culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD), in the education process.
Developing a safe work environment given the exposure to hazardous material illegally dumped.
Darebin City Council intends to continue and expand its litter education and communications program with the broader community, increase the use of surveillance cameras and devices, and increase engagement with higher education institutions and real estate agents to promote waste management options for international students and new Darebin residents. And of course they intend to keep collecting data using the VLAA LLMT.