Thirteen Local Aboriginal Land Councils have been awarded a total of $1,092,270 for community waste projects that clean up and prevent illegal dumping on their land, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) announced today.
Cowra, Dubbo, Worimi, Illawarra, Mindaribba, Wanaruah, Ngambri, Tibooburra, Amaroo, Cobowra and Menindee Local Aboriginal Land Councils have been awarded a total of $692,270 from the Aboriginal Land Clean Up and Prevention (ALCUP) program.
Cleaning up a heritage property, developing a bush tucker garden, revegetating a historic campground, preventing damage from feral goats, building fences, removing asbestos waste and stopping illegal access to dumping hot spots are among the planned ALCUP projects and clean-up activities.
Moree, Amaroo and Walgett Local Aboriginal Land Councils have been granted a total of $400,000 under the Aboriginal Communities Waste Management Program (ACWMP).
The three ACWMP projects receiving funding will tackle bulky waste and litter in a variety of unique ways, including cleaning out a dam to restock with fish, removing damaged cars, clearing demolished house materials, removing dumped waste from riverbanks, unblocking drains, planting native grasses, growing bush tucker medicines and starting vegetable gardens and chicken-keeping.
Aboriginal community members will be employed by some land councils as rangers or to undertake the work.
EPA Executive Director Regulatory Operations Regional Carmen Dwyer said many Aboriginal communities faced barriers to disposing of waste and rubbish due to lack of services, resources and limited access to waste management facilities.
“This funding will help Local Aboriginal Land Councils tackle issues in their areas,” Ms Dwyer said. “Illegal dumping of waste is a common problem and these grants will help make a big difference to local communities.
“The projects have been awarded grants for the positive impact they will have on each individual community. All of the grant recipients look forward to restoring and protecting their land and creating a safer and cleaner environment for their community.”
Already $726,181 has been awarded to 21 recipients of ALCUP, funded through Waste Less, Recycle More.
Ms Dwyer said the program encourages community education and partnerships and incorporates cultural activities to reduce and prevent the occurrence of illegal dumping.
“Previously the program has funded clean-up work, surveillance cameras, deterrence signage, education and awareness programs, and bush regeneration. Since 2006 the program has seen 6,108 tonnes of waste cleaned up, 1,344 tonnes of waste safely disposed of at landfills and 1,706 tonnes of materials recycled.”
The $4 million Aboriginal Communities Waste Management Program is funded for four years until 2021.
Ms Dwyer said the successful programs had already had a positive impact on protecting cultural and natural resources from illegal dumping.
“The EPA recognises the difficult and diverse challenges faced in many remote Aboriginal communities and is committed to helping local land councils improve their environment and create long-term change.”