New funding from the Victorian government has been announced to support Australian charities with the costs associated with waste removal.
Some $2 million has been allocated by the Victorian government to help not-for-profit organisations combat the issue of illegal waste dumping at their sites.
Problems arise when people dump old, broken, outdated, damaged or unsafe items - such as televisions, sofas, beds, fridges, computers and even old mattresses - at charitable organisations, when they should instead be taken to local waste and recycling facilities.
This can create considerable expenses for charitable organisations.
According to Victoria's minister for environment and climate change Ryan Smith, waste disposal is not something that charities should need to allocate their time - or donations - addressing.
He said: "It's not free for charities to dispose of unwanted rubbish illegally dumped on site. When charities have to pay for this waste to be removed, it undermines their ability to support the community."
Previous legislation, which resulted in an annual increase to Victoria's landfill levy, did not make provisions to support charitable organisations, who were forced to take on these additional costs, said Smith.
But the new funding package includes some $1.5 million for landfill levy relief for Australian charities, as well as $500,000 to help not-for-profit organisations "stem the flow" of waste that has been dumped illegally.
Smith asserted: "We want to end the practice of people dumping waste on charities so they can devote precious time and resources to helping families and others in need."
The 12-month funding agreement has been made with the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisation (NACRO) - and the Victorian government will work alongside the group to develop "constructive" long-term solutions to address the illegal dumping issue.
Smith points out that there are a range of proactive measures that may help to solve the problem, including better community education, improved lighting, fencing and security, and clear signage.
"We're responding positively to ease the burdens of the dumping and the cost," he said, adding that government agencies including Sustainability Victoria are working closely with key charity groups and NACRO to develop solutions to this issue.
He also urged Victorian residents to do their part to report illegal dumping.
"If you see someone clearly dumping their garbage on charity, record their vehicle registration and report it to EPA's pollution hotline," he emphasised.