General News

30 March, 2023

Needless acts costs ratepayer funds

WANDERING animals, illegal dumping and vandals are keeping council officers busy across the region, and costing ratepayers valuable funds at the same time.

Needless acts costs ratepayer funds - feature photo

Vandalism is rife in Mareeba, with 73 reports of damage and graffiti reported to the shire council since the start of the financial year, costing ratepayers more than $22,000, while Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) has been more fortunate, spending $7000 on repairs.

Most of the vandalism is centered around public toilet facilities.

“Council endeavours to remove graffiti on council facilities as soon as it is reported,” Mareeba Mayor Angela Toppin said.

“Council receives support from graffiti removal programs run by Youth Justice and Mareeba Community Centre Inc, and with the support of these programs, graffiti vandals are made accountable for their behaviour by doing unpaid graffiti removal work in our community.”

Last week Atherton police advised there had been a sharp increase of graffiti vandalism across the town this month.

Police have charged a 15-year-old Millstream boy with two counts of wilful damage and one count each of possessing a graffiti instrument and a knife in a public place after he allegedly graffitied his name across two Silo Road businesses on 10 March.

A 19-year-old man has been charged with three counts of graffiti after he allegedly graffitied a mural on a Grace Street sports ground between 4-7 March, while police are still seeking the culprit who graffitied the door of a house on Cecily Street between 9-12 March.

TRC also has a growing number of abandoned vehicles to deal with, with 76 left on local roads to date this financial year.

“In addition, we have had 28 requests across 16 locations for illegal dumping – generally pig carcasses, tyres, household waste and camps,” a TRC spokesperson said.

The main locations for dumping were around Atherton, Tolga, Lake Eacham and Jaggan/Glen Allyn. In contrast, Mareeba Shire has dealt with 36 reports of illegal dumping in a range of locations around Kuranda, Mt Molloy, Biboohra, and Mareeba.

“It was pleasing that there has actually been a reduction in illegal dumping this year,” Mayor Toppin said.

When it comes to wandering animals, council officers from Mareeba have impounded 166 dogs and 162 cats since the start of the financial year, while TRC has picked up 71 dogs and 31 cats.

Wandering animals are mainly picked up around the streets of Mareeba, while most of TRC’s reports come from Atherton (71 dogs, 31 cats), followed by Malanda and Ravenshoe with 28 dogs impounded from each of the towns.

But the good news is that officers managed to rehome or return to their owners 84 dogs out of the total of 104 impounded, with 41 cats rehomed or returned to owners out of the 65 picked up, noting that 16 of these were feral animals.

Mareeba officers also had success in dealing with its impounded animals, with 71 dogs rehomed or returned to their owners, and 63 cats rehomed.

Mareeba Shire last week announced it would not increase its fee for dog registrations this year in a bid to encourage pet owners to register their animals.


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