WHEELIE BIG FINE: Mayor says law isn't new to Gladstone
A NEW law targeting people leaving their wheelie bins on the footpath was recently passed in Mackay, sparking mixed reactions amongst Gladstone residents about the $2523 fine.
But Gladstone Region Mayor Matt Burnett said while the wheelie bin law was new in Mackay, it was old news in Gladstone and had existed in the region for years.
He said the law was passed in Gladstone due to complaints made to the council. But he added councils around Queensland were not intending to fine people, just warn them.
"This isn't Gladstone Regional Council coming out and fining people ... it's so council has an instrument, if necessary, for people who leave their bins out for months or years."
Cr Burnett told The Observer people who left their bins out were not necessarily lazy.
He said people living in blocks of units often had problems with the designated space for their wheelie bins being used for other purposes like parking spots.
"Most complaints are for units ... the residents have got nowhere to take them so they leave them on the footpath," Cr Burnett said.
"Nine times out of 10, people want to bring their bin to their house as its closer and easier to throw their rubbish out."
Cr Burnett argued the local law department wasn't "all about issuing fines" and said the law simply provided an option if complaints were made.
"It's not about attacking mums and dads who are leaving their bins out one or two days late," Cr Burnett said.
He compared the law to how Gladstone Regional Council (GRC) responded to overgrown lot complaints.
"In those instances, we send them a letter to say they have to mow their lawn," he said.
GRC then gives residents a time frame for the mowing to be completed in. If it is not done by the end of the period, workers are sent to complete the work and a bill is issued.
Cr Burnett said bins that were left out in bulk could be kicked over, spilling rubbish into storm water drains, which ended up in the ocean.
Partly agreeing, reader Jayde Michael John Daniels said the bins on the kerb were not hurting anyone and said he would just ignore it if he was issued with a fine.
"(But) fair enough if the bin blows over and they (residents)just leave it lying there on the road or something," he said.
Also arguing with the law was resident John Williams, who said GRC should mow people's footpaths, which he implied were so overgrown that they were stopping people from bringing in their bins.
But Cr Burnett said he didn't see a connection between the footpath lawns and people failing to wheel their bins in.
"It's a bit of a long bow to draw ... everyone's footpath gets overgrown every now and then," he said.
The introduction of the new law in Mackay, which could see residents fined $2523 for leaving their bins on the kerb for more than 24 hours before or after rubbish collection day, was met with mixed reactions.
A mix of outrage, confusion and support for the hefty fine has flooded The Observer's website and social media.
Leanne Bee said issuing residents with a $2523 fine was petty and asked fellow readers whether leaving wheelie bins outside was hurting anyone.
"All I think when I see a bin left out is that they're wasting energy by taking rubbish all that way out every time or they must have a huge pile-up inside (their house)," she said.
Mark Dunnett took a harsher stance toward the law.
"Absolutely disgusting to even be thought of," he said.
"We have workforces sitting back dreaming up new taxes that they can use purely for raising more coin instead of living within our means."