On 14 December 2018, the Minister for Environment appointed the new Keep Australia Beautiful Council WA (KABC) for three years to 31 December 2021. I was honoured to be reappointed as chairman, and returning member Genette Keating was voted deputy chairman at our February meeting this year. As well as welcoming Howard Flinders’ reappointment, I have great pleasure in welcoming Bill Adams, Don Burnett, Lisa Fanciulli, Jason Menzies and Christine Parfitt onto the Council for what will be a busy period ahead for KABC.
The National Litter Index (NLI) figures for 2018-19 show some pleasing reductions in littering at most sites across Western Australia, resulting in a 7.5 per cent decrease in litter in 2018-19. To date there has been a 41 per cent reduction in items of litter per 1,000m2 since 2012-13.
KABC anticipates that the State Government’s container deposit scheme (CDS) will have a very positive impact on litter reduction throughout the state. KABC is working with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) on aligning the CDS regional audits with the NLI categories and parameters so that comparisons on litter can be made between pre- and post-CDS implementation.
Our community engagement programs continued to grow, with many Western Australians joining up for the fight against litter. This year saw an additional 1,185 people register as litter reporters, bringing their number up to 14,322. Litter reporters play an important role in monitoring littering and contributing to behaviour change for better litter disposal.
Enthusiasm for the Adopt-a-Spot program continues to grow as 234 new groups registered to adopt or carry out a one-off clean-up of a spot. Almost 35,000 people have participated in the program since its inception in 2009. While I said it last year, it bears repeating: KABC’s success is defined by the thousands of volunteers who provide invaluable assistance in helping to reduce litter in Western Australia.
The Clean Schools program continues to be keenly supported by staff and students in schools throughout Western Australia. Each school term sees several professional development workshops for teachers being presented as well as visits being made to schools to help staff and students implement litter prevention programs. Presentations at events such as the Earth Day Expo are also high on the agenda for student engagement.
The Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities program continued to drive initiatives in Western Australia’s regional towns and communities. I congratulate Collie on being the State winner for 2018 and going on to successfully participate in the National Awards in 2019, where it won the national Young Legends category and was highly commended for the Environmental Sustainability Natural Environment Management Award. It is so gratifying to see the enthusiasm of regional and remote communities who continue to develop excellent initiatives and want to showcase them through the Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards.
In October 2018 the Minister for Environment and the Minister for Transport jointly announced $400,000 funding from Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) for a state-wide roadside litter prevention project on regional highways. The funding acknowledged a successful trial in 2016 for litter prevention on regional highways that had seen up to a 77 per cent reduction in roadside litter at trial sites. The project is currently under development for a staged rollout across the state.
KABC has important partnerships with other organisations in preventing and cleaning up litter. In addition to significant funding received from the Waste Authority and MRWA, KABC also partnered with the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) on litter prevention projects. I am especially pleased to see the continued involvement of individual local governments, as they are essential in presenting opportunities for participation in KABC programs to their local communities. KABC has signed agreements with five local governments to promote Adopt-a-Spot and other KABC programs.
The new KABC members have enthusiastically taken up the mantle for strategic planning for litter prevention and reduction in Western Australia. I wish to acknowledge outgoing members for the years of commitment to litter prevention and a liveable environment and thank them for their service. The Council is always grateful to the staff in KABC Services for their commitment and enthusiasm for practical and impactful program delivery. It can be a dirty job!
I especially thank the many Western Australians who assisted with clean-ups, implemented education programs and spread the anti-litter message to their communities, friends and family.
Keep Australia Beautiful Council