Gemfields let down in dumping crackdown

Improperly disposed of waste pollutes the Gemfields area. PHOTOS: Andrew Knight

GEMFIELDS residents have expressed concerns that Central Highlands Regional Council’s crackdown on illegal dumping is insufficient to prevent improperly disposed of waste in their area.
Wide Bay resident Andrew Knight, who has a claim at Sapphire, said illegal dumping was a major issue throughout the Gemfields.
“The bush off to the left of Rubyvale to Clermont Rd, just before the grid, is a known dumping hotspot,” he said.
“Many Gemfields residents are very concerned about illegal dumping in the bush around the area.”
Mr Knight said he hoped CHRC would become more proactive about illegal dumping.
“To council’s credit, these areas have been cleaned up in the past, as have a couple of areas further down Rockhound Rd, Sapphire,” he said.
“Cameras and signs have been erected on tracking into the bush, directly behind the rubbish tip, as this area was really bad for illegal dumping in the past.
“I went to the trouble of emailing multiple photos and GPS points of various (waste) behind our mining claim on the miner’s common on unallocated state land.
“I just hope that the CHRC… is more proactive about illegal dumping in the Gemfields.”
A spokesperson for CHRC said the council was aware of “several places” in the Rubyvale area that were known dumping hotspots.
“In an effort to deter offenders, council has installed signs at the front gate of the Rubyvale Recovery Centre and in the bush area behind the centre, as well as at Old Rubyvale Rd and Hill Top Crest Rd.”
The spokesperson said although steps had been taken to deter illegal dumping, it still relied on residents to report it when it occurred.
“Even if you don’t witness culprits in the act, please still report any suspected incidents of illegal dumping to us,” the spokesperson said.
“This gives us information about potential new hotspot areas where a surveillance camera may be needed.
“It also means we can search these sites for evidence.
“On several occasions in the past, we have been successful in finding evidence from the waste that has led to the identification and finding of the offenders.”
The spokesperson said that illegal dumping can take longer to address when it occurred on state land.
“Sometimes illegal dumping occurs on state-owned land. When this happens the public or council can report it to the Queensland Government vie their hotline for action.
“We want a sustainable future for our region, so we will continue to actively support the state government as they work towards a Queensland free from litter and illegal dumping.”
The spokesperson said illegal dumping hurt “the environment, our tourism industry, our business community, our animals and our children”.
“Catching offenders is hard, but if we work together, we can try.”