environment

Pages tagged "environment"

  • New Laws To Crack Down On Shopping Trolleys

    Irresponsible supermarket operators would face on-the-spot fines for failing to collect abandoned shopping trolleys from public places under sweeping reforms to NSW’s impounding laws.

    Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock introduced the Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Bill 2021 to Parliament last week to make our valuable public places safer and more enjoyable for communities across the State.

    Mrs Hancock said the overhaul of the Impounding Act would see owners of shopping trolleys, unregistered cars and trailers and stray stock face harsh penalties if they do not remove them from public places within risk-based timeframes.

    “These sensible new laws meet community expectations for safe, accessible and useable open spaces now and into the future,” Mrs Hancock said.

    “Abandoned items such as shopping trolleys and unregistered vehicles are not only a safety hazard and nuisance but a blight on streets, footpaths, nature strips and other public places across the state.

    “We are now future-proofing our laws to arm councils, police and other public land managers with strong powers to take swift and effective action and rid our open spaces of the scourge of abandoned and unattended items.

    “These new laws resolve key concerns our communities have been raising for years and years. We are now putting the obligations firmly on property owners and others responsible for items left in public places to do the right thing and remove them within risk-based timeframes or face harsher penalties, more rapid impounding action and enforcement orders.”

    Member for Oatley Mark Coure, who chaired two workshops regarding the reforms earlier this year, said the NSW Government is modernising the Impounding Act after carrying out the first comprehensive review since it was introduced 28 years ago.

    “Items abandoned or left unattended in public places cause significant economic, environmental and social costs to our community,” Mr Coure said.

    “In particular, shopping trolleys have continued to be a real concern to the community over time and it is clear that regulatory change is necessary.

    “We recognise that supermarket operators are already implementing voluntary options such as trolley trackers, trolley collections, and coin deposit schemes and these measures are making a difference.

    “It costs the NSW community $17 million a year to deal with abandoned and unattended shopping trolleys, vehicles and animals in public places. These reforms will cut these costs by 60 per cent saving at least $9.7 million a year for councils, other public land managers and the community.

    “The changes have been developed following widespread consultation with councils, members of the public, industry/business groups, retailers, peak bodies and government agencies.”

    PROPOSED MODEL FOR PENALTIES AND RISK-BASED TIMEFRAMES

    Shopping trolleys

    • Supermarkets would face an on-the-spot fine of $660 for failing to collect a shopping trolley from a public place within three hours of being notified if it is causing an obstruction or safety risk, or within four days of being given notice if left unattended for seven days or more in a public place
    • A further 10 per cent ($66) would be added to the fine for each additional trolley in the same spot (up to 11 in total) to reflect the greater access and amenity issues caused by unattended groups of trolleys
    • Individual retailers would face a court-imposed penalty of up to $2,750 and a maximum of $13,750 for corporations for more serious offences
    • A mandatory code of practice would provide clarity for supermarket operators and enforcement authorities to greatly reduce the impact of trolleys
    • Exemptions would apply for small businesses with less than 25 trolleys.

     Vehicles

    • Owners of unregistered vehicles including cars, boat trailers and caravans left in public places would face an on-the-spot fine of $660, a court penalty of up to $2,750, and/or have their vehicle impounded
    • Action would be taken immediately where a vehicle is causing an obstruction or safety risk, after 15 days’ notice for an unregistered vehicle parked on the roadside, or after 28 days’ notice for abandoned/unattended vehicles.

    Animals

    • Owners of animals (other than cats and dogs) who have acted negligently would face an on-the-spot fine of $660 for an animal that gets out and strays on neighbours’ properties or onto public roads or places
    • A further 10% ($66) would be added to the fine for each additional animal (up to 11 in total)
    • Animal owners would face court-imposed penalties of up to $2,750, or $13,750 for corporations for more serious offences
    • Authorities would have powers to issue orders to prevent further incidents, such as requiring fence repairs, and to deal with animals on roads in emergencies and other urgent circumstances.
  • Time Ripe To Plant More Trees In Greater Sydney

    Sydney is becoming greener with 500,000 trees planted, edging closer to the Premier’s Priority of planting one million trees by 2022 .

    The 500,000th tree was planted by Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes today at Bungarribee Park, where the Minister announced the latest $10 million round of the Greening our City grant program for Sydney’s councils to plant trees.

    “Our vision is for a city within a park, where people can walk or cycle to world-class public green spaces framed by trees,” Mr Stokes said.

    “We’ve brought the latest round of the $10 million Greening our City grant program forward to take advantage of the better planting conditions as a result of the La Nina weather pattern.”

    “We know how valuable tree cover is for lowering heat, providing shade and enhancing our neighbourhoods, and by planting the 500,000th tree we are well on our way to meeting our target of one million.

    “The Greening our City program has been a great success in delivering greener, safer and cooler urban environments while also progressing innovation projects.”

    The program advances the Premier’s Priority of Greening Our City, announced in June 2019, to increase tree canopy and green cover by planting one million trees in Greater Sydney by 2022. The priority is part of the Five Million Trees Program, which aims to plant five million trees in Greater Sydney by 2030.

    Greater Sydney councils can submit grant applications until 14 April. The grant program is being administered by Local Government NSW on behalf of the Department. Successful applicants will be notified in May.

    Program details, and previous recipients, are available at:

    www.dpie.nsw.gov.au/premiers-priorities/greening-our-city/greening-our-city-grants

  • New Plan To Deliver Conservation Legacy For Western Sydney

    A new plan to protect koalas and conserve critical biodiversity assets in growing parts of Western Sydney has been unveiled by the NSW Government today.

    Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the draft plan is one of the largest strategic conservation planning exercises ever in Australia.

    “The Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan is a once-in-a-generation commitment to protect south-west Sydney’s rich environmental assets and important koala population, while providing certainty for investment in a growing part of Sydney,” Mr Stokes said.

    “Rather than assessing the biodiversity impact of individual development applications on an ad-hoc basis, we’ve identified upfront the key areas that need to be protected.

    “With Western Sydney’s population expected to reach 1.5 million people by 2056, this plan delivers certainty for local communities and investors alike.  Too often the environment has been an afterthought in urban planning.  This plan prioritises and protects urban bushland before urban development.  This approach secures environmental conservation but with the certainty needed to support the strategic delivery of infrastructure, housing and jobs for Western Sydney.”

    Minister for Environment Matt Kean said the draft Plan includes a new koala reserve to ensure Sydney’s largest and healthiest koala population is protected.

    “The Georges River Koala Reserve will protect up to 1,885 hectares of existing koala habitat and enhance the connectivity of fragmented patches of important habitat, including protecting the important north-south koala corridor so this iconic species can move about safely,” Mr Kean said.

    “We will invest $84 million in the first five years to plant 100,000 trees in the Georges River Koala Reserve to restore koala habitat and install 120 kilometres of koala fencing.”

    The Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan spans eight local government areas including Blacktown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Camden, Wollondilly, Hawkesbury and Penrith.

    The draft plan incorporates findings from the NSW Chief Scientist’s Campbelltown Koala Report which  provided advice on effective methods to mitigate the impact of urban development on koala habitat.

    The draft Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan will be on public exhibition until 25 September 2020. To view the draft plan or have your say, please visit: planning.nsw.gov.au/cumberlandplainconservationplan

  • Return and Earn Reaches Three Billion Containers

    Return and Earn has now soared past 3 billion containers returned state wide, just a month after the second anniversary of the initiative.

    State Member for Holsworthy, Melanie Gibbons MP, said our residents should be commended for their ongoing commitment to reducing litter and contributing locally to the 3 billion containers.

    “Return and Earn has been very successful in the Holsworthy Electorate with more than 52.6 million containers returned helping to contribute to the 3 billion now collected.”

    “The growth of the scheme has been phenomenal and highlights a fundamental change in people’s thinking and behaviour around litter,” Ms Gibbons said.

    Ms Gibbons said summer is peak season for return and earners cashing in their containers and helping the environment and the recent holiday period was particularly impressive for returned containers.

    “Statewide between 21 December 2019 and 13 January 2020, there were 10 days with more than 7 million drink containers returned a day, including four days with over 8 million containers returned.” Ms Gibbons said.

    “The scheme has highlighted so many positives across communities and every bottle returned is a win for the environment.”

    Until 23 February, recyclers in NSW can donate to Bottles for the Bush, on all reverse vending machines with 10 cents from each container going towards helping farmers and rural families impacted by the drought and the recent bushfire devastation. This option is part of a nationwide appeal that has raised more than $430,000 so far with more than $360,000 coming through NSW’s Return and Earn scheme.

    Additionally, Red Frog Recycling in Prestons (the Prestons Container Deposit Centre) is running the “Funds for our Firies” campaign, with funds donated to their centres or collected from businesses and homes split evenly between every Brigade registered with them.

    According to their facebook page, Red Frog Recycling has processed 40,000,000 containers, across their Prestons and Gregory Hills centres, since December 2017 and raised over $600,000 for charities, schools, sports clubs and communtiy organisations.

    “Examples like Red Frog Recycling show how much this program is creating positive impacts for our community – cleaning up our environment while also supporting community organisations” Ms Gibbons said.

    Return and Earn includes around 640 return points across NSW including reverse vending machines, staffed automated depots and over the counter sites. For more information about Return and Earn, visit www.returnandearn.org.au