Engaging the community through Clean-up Australia Day

Illegal dumping case study – Crown land management in Cessnock


Find long-term solutions to deal with a historic pattern of illegal dumping in the 250-ha Stanford Merthyr Crown Reserve, changing behaviour and removing any excuse to continue dumping.


Illegally dumped waste ready for disposal

Waste cleaned up ready for disposal. Photo: courtesy Crown Lands Division, DPI.

  • Recruited volunteers from local community groups ‘Friends of Tumblebee’ and ‘Kurri Tidy Towns’, officers from Crown Lands and National Parks, along with friends and families, for a Clean Up Australia Day event.
  • Removed the majority of waste by hand, benefiting the reserve’s sensitive endangered ecological communities.
  • Restricted access to the site before the Clean Up event, using fencing, boulders, bollards and gates to make it harder for dumpers to gain access and dump waste.
  • Erected educational signage featuring photos from the Clean Up day.

Top tips

  • Involving the community had the dual effect of cleaning up with minimal costs to the land managers in time and resources, while boosting pride in the site and increasing the chance of long-term behaviour change.
  • Removing the rubbish helped to make the reserve less attractive to dumpers and more appealing to visitors. Combining this with access restrictions further helped to discourage dumpers.
  • Hosting a barbecue and using photos of the event as educational material generated even greater community participation in the following year’s Clean Up Australia Day event.


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