THE QUEENSLAND Premier has welcomed new litter enforcement methods as part of legislation that has been introduced to Queensland Parliament.
Premier Peter Beattie said the Environmental Protection Amendment Bill 2007 was aimed at reducing the amount of litter found by the roadside and on city streets with litterbugs facing fines of up to $300.
“The changes will make enforcing littering offences in Queensland significantly easier and safer, particularly when litter is thrown from a vehicle,” Beattie said.
The Premier said he hoped the new laws would send a message that littering would not be tolerated.
“According to the latest litter count figures issued by Keep Australia Beautiful in February 2007, 55 per cent of the volume of litter in Queensland is found along our roadsides. This is higher than the national average of 49 per cent,” he said.
“In NSW, where an authorised person has the ability to issue an infringement notice to the registered owner of a vehicle, the volume of litter found along highways and roadsides is only 40 per cent. In Victoria, where public reporting is also used to report littering offences from vehicles, this figure drops to 32 per cent.”
Under Queensland’s current litter legislation, an authorised person has to stop, and obtain the details of the person who littered in order to then issue an infringement notice directly to that person. According to Premier Beattie, this can be dangerous and confrontational for the authorised person.
He claimed that as a consequence, very few litter infringement notices have been issued since 2000.
“The new laws will allow an authorised person — Environmental Protection Agency officers, local government officers and Queensland police officers — to send an infringement notice to the registered operator of a vehicle from which a littering offence has been observed.
“This is similar to camera-detected speeding offences, where the owner of the vehicle receives the infringement notice in the mail,” said Beattie.