Peak sugarcane organisation CANEGROWERS is seeking urgent discussions with local government amid an escalation of people using Queensland farms as dumping grounds.
“It’s a huge and distressing problem for many cane growers and other farmers who are doing their best to produce sustainable food and fibre,” CANEGROWERS Chief Executive Office Dan Galligan said.
“Finding piles of household garbage, mountains of building rubble, old appliances, broken furniture and tyres is all too common for farmers close to Queensland towns and cities. When working with machinery in tall cane crops, such as during the harvest, this debris poses a significant safety hazard.
“It is infuriating that people are passing on their mess and the cost of its disposal to someone else by dumping on the farms that grow the food they eat.
“With anecdotal feedback pointing to high local dump fees as a possible reason for this disgusting practice in some regions, I will be seeking discussions with the Local Government Association of Queensland to better understand how this problem can be stopped.”
This month the CANEGROWERS magazine, Australian Canegrower, highlighted the case of a grower in the northern Gold Coast region who found more than 1,000 tyres dumped on a track between cane fields on her farm.
“This situation highlighted the struggle growers across the state face when trying to get help with this unwelcome problem - councils often state they have no power or responsibility and police seem unable to assist in tracking down culprits,” Mr Galligan said.
“While we welcome the Queensland Government’s provision of grants to assist with the most difficult clean-up tasks and provide more resources to local government to investigate, it would be better for everyone if this disgusting practice never happened in the first place.
“I urge Queenslanders to please stop doing this. Please show respect to the farms growing your food and do not use them as dumps.
“I will be working with all local and state agencies to determine strategies to deter and act on illegal dumping.”