“Keep Queensland Beautiful” is the new catchcry to stop Queensland’s three-year run as the most littered mainland state in Australia.
In a new initiative, Keep Australia Beautiful Queensland (KABQ) is rebranding itself to focus on the “chronic local litter problem”.
“We need to fix our bad littering behaviour in Queensland,” says Rick Burnett, CEO of KABQ, and creator of the new Keep Queensland Beautiful (KQB) “trading name”.
“We have a new state government, and in partnership with Keep Queensland Beautiful, we have a new commitment and goal.
“Let’s be the cleanest state – not the dirtiest.
“It’s so simple – if we all put our rubbish in a bin, we will keep Queensland beautiful.”
Mr Burnett also launched a new jingle and video which he was negotiating to have played at sporting venues, cinemas and as a community service announcement in local TV and radio airtime.
Sharing the joint announcement, the Minister of Environment and Heritage Protection, the Hon. Andrew Powell MP, said it was a bold decision for the iconic Keep Australia Beautiful organisation.
“The Newman government will be supporting the initiative by providing seed-funding for a new Keep Queensland Beautiful “litter prevention smart phone App”.
“We are in a new age of communication and data collection,” Minister Powell said.
“Keep Queensland Beautiful will develop a new phone app to allow public reporting of littering and data about litter hotspots.”
The Minister said the Newman Government was committed to helping form industry partnerships with Keep Queensland Beautiful to create more investment in a cleaner Queensland.
“It is a matter of pride that we keep our state clean and litter-free, and it’s in our hands to make it happen.”
Mr Burnett said: “We have the most beautiful natural landscapes, beaches, flora and fauna of all the states in Australia – yet we have the worst littering problem.”
(The National Litter Index – measuring litter item numbers and volumes at 983 sites across Australia – has found Queensland had the most littered items in the past three consecutive years.)
“It is lazy, ugly, and destructive – remember: Litter on land, kills at sea!” Burnett said.
“And cigarette butts, plastic bags and plastic bottles are the top killers.
“We have the world’s best-known, most iconic coral reef, brilliant islands and marine environments, yet so many of us are lazy and thoughtless about dropping our rubbish wherever we go.
“We need to lift our game Queenslander!”
Burnett said the KABQ board had decided to adopt a new name and logo to concentrate the litter and recycling messages locally, and to simplify the education and awareness process.
The new state government recently pledged its support, approving an “Everyone’s Environment” grant of $55,000 for the expansion of the KABQ “Adopt a Road” program in 2013 – where community groups voluntarily adopt local roads, parks and other public spaces, and pledge to keep them litter-free.
There are currently 40 groups operating and Keep Queensland Beautiful aims to add another 20 groups this calendar year.
Reducing litter can save huge amounts of public money spent by the state and local governments in cleaning costs. Brisbane City Council alone spent more than $8-milion on litter management last financial year.
The National Packaging Covenant Industry Association (NPCIA) is also partnering KABQ over the next 3 years to expand Queensland’s Tidy Towns and Clean Beaches awards programs, and help spread litter prevention and recycling messages in Queensland schools.
Burnett said the last government funded anti-litter “Do the Right Thing” media campaign was in the 1990s.
“That means a whole generation of young people has never heard an anti-litter message,” Burnett said. “Now they are driving their first cars and think nothing of throwing food or drink packaging onto the roads.
“We need more signs, more education, and stronger penalties.”
Burnett said littering and illegal dumping penalties and fines did exist, but with police and council resources stretched, the public needed to be more involved.
“Dob in a Litterer,” Burnett said. “There are links on the Keep Queensland Beautiful website to report offenders.”
This year Keep Queensland Beautiful has also been granted “environmental charity status” so donations to help its cause are now tax deductable.
Individuals, clubs and corporations can donate or join the organisation by visiting the Keep Queensland Beautiful website www.keepqueenslandbeautiful.org.au
“Clean Queensland? Dirty Queensland? You choose”.