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Clean Up Cop Out

Volunteers encounter red tape in clean up

On Clean Up Australia Day, first Sunday in March, the Kew East Community Recycling (KECR) group received a tip that an area in Glenferrie Hawthorn was overdue for a clean up. Specifically, the area along the railway track running parallel to Lynch Street, Hawthorn.

KECR approached Boroondara Council for assistance by either waiving tip fees or removing hard rubbish once KECR had gathered it in a pile. Initially Council seemed positive. However, with only 24 hours notice KECR were informed by Council that due to the rubbish coming off VicTrack owned land, they would not assist. Furthermore, going onto VicTrack land to remove the rubbish is considered trespassing. Having volunteers already organised for the day, KECR still went ahead.

VicTrack owns Victoria’s transport land, assets and infrastructure. On Lynch Street, the land between the train tracks and the fence is owned by VicTrack who then lease this land to Metro Trains, making them responsible for the land's upkeep.

A Metro Trains spokesperson explained that “Rubbish is unsightly and has no place in or around our train network – that’s why we have a comprehensive cleaning management program in place.” In regards to vegetation they said that vegetation management is conducted twice a year.

Despite the claim of a ‘comprehensive cleaning management program’, when the ten-plus KECR volunteers removed rubbish and gathered it into a large pile, much of it was weathered and had clearly been there a long time.

On the day of the clean up, the Glenferrie Ward Councillor, Cr Wes Gault, was directly approached about the issue and assisted in organising a one-off Council hard rubbish collection for the pile. He also said he would raise the issue at the next Waste Management Reference Group meeting.

Metro Trains also explained that if they receive a complaint about rubbish dumping, the area is inspected as soon as possible. They encourage residents and passengers to report rubbish dumping or any concerns to the Department of Transport and Planning on 1800 800 007.

A spokesperson for John Pesutto MP, State Member for Hawthorn, asserted that “VicTrack should be making sure their tenants are upkeeping the public property with which they are custodians.”

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