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Turn litter into art

DTAE staff can play a role in helping to make Tasmania litter free by turning some throwaway items into art.

In line with the drafting of a new Litter Act, the Environment Division's Litter Program co-ordinator Annie Beecroft wants your old bus tickets, ring pulls from aluminium cans, six-ring plastic holders, plastic strapping and plastic bottle top for arts projects.

Collect them at home or bring them to a centralised collection box at work and encourage your colleagues to do likewise. Make sure all items are clean please.

They will be turned into works of art at community workshops to be held next year.

This is just one of the multi-faceted approaches being used to tackle the impacts of litter on the Tasmanian environment and is part of the Living Environment Program.

So in the interests of the environment, artistic endeavour and community education, start collecting now.

Email Annie or phone her on 6233 7046 to arrange a pick-up of your "goodies".

Meanwhile, Tourism, Arts and the Environment Minister Paula Wriedt this week announced the release of a draft Litter Bill aimed at providing Tasmania with more effective litter legislation to replace the Litter Act, which dates from 1973.

Ms Wriedt said improved approaches are needed to protect the landscape and beauty spots which are part of our unique Tasmanian lifestyle and environment and which are vitally important to our tourism industry.

New litter control proposals were developed in consultation with stakeholder groups, including local councils, and were further canvassed in a public issues and options paper in 2004.

Further comment on the detail in the draft Bill is now being sought from stakeholder groups before it is presented to Parliament.

Measures in the draft Bill are focus on the seriousness of littering and encourage the community to be more responsible in the way they dispose of litter.

The depositing of litter will attract higher penalties which increase in accordance with the amount littered. It will be an offence to place material insecurely so that it can escape and become litter, and the delivery and placement of unsolicited advertising material will be regulated.

A high proportion of littering occurs from motor vehicles and, to address this, members of the public will be able to report littering offences through a telephone and internet Litter Hotline.

The public reporting system is modelled on one which has operated in Victoria for several years and is designed to protect people against incorrect or vexatious reports.

Registered operators of motor vehicles will be liable for littering from their vehicles, though provisions in the Bill will protect them from being unfairly penalised if the offence was committed by another person.

Further information and a copy of the draft Bill is available on the Environment Division website, www.environment.tas.gov.au.