Wednesday 11 September 2019
Hansard of the Legislative Council
LITTER AMENDMENT BILL 2018 (No. 60)
Mr FINCH (Rosevears)- Mr President, I suppose you have heard stories about trash and litter in the past. It was interesting to hear the member for Windermere talk about the butts that litter the streets - not as bad as it used to be. I remember when we were all puffing away, we just flicked matches and butts on to the ground and did not give them a second thought.
This reminded me of an old story. The member for Huon might remember this chap, as might the member for Windermere, being of the right vintage - Billy the butt stabber. He went around the movie theatres, the Avalon and Odeon and the different ones; when the people were going into the pictures, they would throw their cigarette butts in little sand boxes. Billy the butt stabber would come along with a stick with a little pin on the end of it; he would stab the butt and put it in his pocket and then he would stab another butt and put it in his pocket. He saved a bit of money helping with the litter problem.
Sometimes littering sparks people's community conscience. I remember going to Savage River one time and passing some big rubbish bags on the side of the highway. When I was further down I passed probably about six but there was a chap down over the back loading up rubbish bags on the way to Savage River. Visually, you could not see the rubbish from your car. I checked at Savage River when I arrived. He was an engineer who in his spare time was driven by his social conscience to help with the litter, because it was so prevalent in that area.
That is the case all over the countryside. If you go anywhere, go down over the bank, people have for eons tossed stuff over the bank, out of sight, out of mind. I remember as a young cub going to the Waterworks. I was hitchhiking into town from Ferntree and just passed Strickland Avenue and a call of nature was needed so I went down over the bank and among all this rubbish, here I am only about eight years of age -
Mr Dean - And you had a cigarette out your mouth.
Mr FINCH - I flicked the butt away and where it landed there was £17 in a little roll amongst the rubbish. You can imagine what £17 meant to a little eight-year-old. It was a fantastic find.
I have dealt with this issue in my own mind. How do you solve this issue of people throwing rubbish out of their cars? We talk about advertising campaigns and educating people. Put the fear of God into them, too, with the penalties and all that sort of thing, but we have to educate the young ones, the young people, as they come on because they will put the pressure on dad or mum who might throw the stuff out the window. The kids can tap them on the shoulder and say, 'Hang on, that is not right'.
One solution I think would be to hang a plastic bag off your gear stick, draped over the passenger side. It does not get in the way of your passenger normally. I can imagine somebody who is a misfit or has no regard for nature going to the various takeaway outlets. Look at the refuse you end up with if you get a meal from McDonalds or Hungry Jack's, or any of the others. You have all this rubbish in the car.
If you have no consideration for environment or the litter-free state we are trying to achieve, you will just throw it out the window. If there is an educative process to put these little plastic bags on your gear stick, at least you have a place to put it and it is not making a mess in the car. Then when you get a chance, it is easier to pick the rubbish up if it is all contained in one bag, It is then a matter of getting near a rubbish bin, throwing it in the rubbish bin or taking it inside. That might be a way of educating the younger ones. They will say, 'Dad or mum, you should have one of those plastic bags that they give you at blah blah'. That is my suggestion.
We should do whatever we can do to diminish the amount of rubbish because we are judged by tourists, particularly, who are travelling around. If we are an untidy state, that is the image they will take with them of what they experienced in Tasmania if we are not careful.
I had an experience in London one time of going to a train station. People had the idea of taking their rubbish to a train station and throwing it on the track, dumping it at the station. The rubbish in England - that is an enduring memory of mine from England, the rubbish. We have to try to avoid that for Tasmania. I support the bill.