By TONY FOSTER
Mayor of Brighton
MANY of you will know my long-held concerns about the enormous amount of littering that sadly, regularly occurs throughout Tasmania.
You only have to travel a few kilometres on our roads to see how bad the problem is whether it is here down South, in the North and in the North West. In many if not most areas, the state of our roads and verges is appalling, and indeed embarrassing.In some of my most recent travels around the State I have felt that the situation is getting worse, if that’s possible. Rubbish of all descriptions, plastic, cans, paper, building construction materials, is just strewn on the side of the road, in green spaces and verge areas, and even on the roads themselves, which apart from being an eyesore in itself, is a danger to drivers.
We should not be proud of statistics that show Tasmania is recording the nation’s highest rate of littering (per 1000 square metres), something like 48 per cent higher than the national average. Indeed, we should be embarrassed and ashamed.
Litter has a severe impact on our natural environment and like many others, I believe that more needs to be done to improve our extremely disappointing record on littering. While we have come a long way as a State with our policies restricting plastic bag usage, there is still much to be done to stop the indiscriminate littering of our roadsides and common places.
It’s a sad fact that some Third World countries are doing it much better than we are doing in Tasmania. But that’s the reality.
I have a very simple philosophy on civic pride and that is if you want to grow your community it must look clean and tidy. No one will stop to shop in our community or use our restaurants if we look dirty and unkempt.
To that end, Council, in this year’s budget will spend more than $2 million on roads including $200,000 on street-scaping for the Brighton Road. Council has an ongoing commitment following the building of the Brighton by-pass, to ensure our own main thoroughfare is smart, clean and welcoming for locals and visitors.
Council is also well advanced in its formal discussions with the Department of Infrastructure Energy and Resources (DIER) for Council to take over the cleaning up of our municipality’s major highways and thoroughfares. For some time, we as a Council have been concerned that our hands have been tied to DIER’s program of national highway clean ups throughout the State, which to date, in our view, have not been undertaken in a timely or satisfactory manner.
Council believes it is better placed to undertake the clean up role as our staff see what is occurring on a daily basis, and we can move quickly to ensure that any spills or rubbish that is blown off vehicles in all parts of our municipality, can be speedily dealt with.
I will keep you informed of our discussions but we are confident that we will come to a mutually acceptable agreement that will see Brighton take control of its own community clean up to include the major highways that are part of our municipality.
In the meantime, I urge everyone to do their utmost in keeping their areas clean and tidy, as every little bit helps to ensure that Brighton is not only the best place to live in and work, but the cleanest.