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Offenders remove 630 tonnes of rubbish from Western Sydney waterway

Published date: Tuesday 23 April 2019

[PDF version of this media release]

Community Corrections officers and offenders in Sydney’s south-west are reviving the area’s waterways by removing 630 tonnes of rubbish, including used gas bottles, drink cans and plastic bags.

Three supervised groups of offenders return more than 1000 hours’ work to the community each week removing rubbish from sites in the Georges River catchment area, which stretches from Botany Bay to Campbelltown and Fairfield.

Community Corrections Sydney South West Director Kate Byrne said the rubbish removal program gives offenders the opportunity to develop a social conscience while helping the community and the environment.

“We’ve had a strong partnership over the past six years with volunteer organisation Georges Riverkeeper which works to protect the health of the waterways. During that time our teams have removed more than 630 tonnes of rubbish from litter hotspots,” Ms Byrne said.

“These offenders are making a valuable contribution to the community by performing work that wouldn’t otherwise be done and removing bagfuls of rubbish from the river and its surrounds.

As part of the relationship with Georges Riverkeeper, supervised teams of around 12 offenders conduct regular rubbish removal at more than 200 sites across the catchment.

These sites are known litter hotspots or areas where rubbish collects in mangrove forests, saltmarshes or reed beds.

Minister for Corrections Anthony Roberts said helping not-for-profit organisations strengthens offenders’ ties with their communities and increases their chances of successful reintegration.

“The NSW Government has committed $330 million to reducing reoffending and the work of our Community Corrections staff is vital to that,” Mr Roberts said.

“This work is improving the quality of these waterways - and that’s a really positive thing for these offenders to achieve, knowing that they’re giving something back to the environment and their community.”

Georges Riverkeeper Manager Beth Salt said the removal of rubbish helps protect these vital ecological communities and restore the functions of a healthy river.

“Partnering with Corrective Services NSW allows us to have a much greater impact on the health of the river, specifically on the amount of gross pollutants within the river system,” Ms Salt said.