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Ian Kiernan calls communities to band together to restore Queensland

Media Release - 11 February 2011

Download the 2010 Rubbish Report PDF (9mb) 

The Sunshine state’s recent wild weather has taken a huge toll on all its residents, both emotionally and financially.

It has also seen communities taking action together – you would be hard pressed to find a Queenslander who hasn’t worked alongside neighbours in the immediate clean up following unprecedented devastation of flooding and cyclone Yasi.

Clean Up Australia Chairman and Founder Ian Kiernan AO today joined Brisbane Lord Mayor Campbell Newman to call for volunteers to join forces on Clean Up Australia Day.

“The first priority after a natural disaster is your own backyard. Federal, state, local government and associated authorities have been quick to provide first stage relief and support – the coordination of which has been truly impressive,” Mr Kiernan said.

The Queensland flooding and its aftermath have been compared to the equivalent of ten times the impact of the GFC, emotionally affecting the entire nation. Brisbane City Council is facing a bill of at least $440 million1, with national costs from Cyclone Yasi estimated at $500 million2.

More than $61 million has already gone into the emergency waste collections and on the ground assistance for the clean up.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said Brisbane’s 23,000-strong ‘mud army’ of volunteers had done a magnificent job on the immediate response, but that there was more to be done.

“Many of our foreshore areas and creek beds continue to have flood debris wash in and there are still a number of park areas needing a clean up,” Cr Newman said.

“Part of the flood recovery effort is getting Brisbane back to being a clean, green and vibrant city and our community spirit is well and truly alive so I hope to see plenty of volunteers out on March 6,” he said.

Brisbane City Council will promote up to 500 sites across the city that require a clean up, including several large sites that have been directly impacted by flood debris.

Ian Kiernan said that in 2010, 97,486 Queenslanders worked across 1340 registered sites. Roadways were the most polluted area in the state, averaging twice the number of rubbish items per site than any other location.

In 2011, local NGOs and local government agencies working with Clean Up Australia Day organisers are predicting a huge shift of the types and accumulation sites of rubbish, with a focus on waterways, parks and flood perimeter zones.

Kiernan outlined, “In 2010 plastics, glass and paper were the major sources of rubbish removed by Clean Up volunteers in Queensland.

“We can reasonably expect to see some change in the type of rubbish volunteers will be removing in 2011, with larger items, tangled debris and maybe even hazardous materials being found.

“On 6 March, let’s band together to clean up flood debris and support areas in need. With community support we can remove the debris and start the restoration process that we know will, in some cases, take years..

Clean Up Australia Day is the country’s largest community participation event run solely with the assistance of local volunteers. This year, organisers are working closely with local authorities, channeling volunteer efforts to registered sites that have been approved as safe by relevant Councils.

“It is vitally important that every site registered for Clean Up Australia Day is approved by local government and all volunteers register before they don their gloves and bags,” said Ian Kiernan.

“Volunteer safety is our prime focus – many sites that have been easy to access for years may now be dangerous. If it is dangerous, don’t do it.”

Registering a site is easy – just go to the website: www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au; or give Clean Up a call on 1800 CUA DAY.

Clean Up Australia Day began when founder Ian Kiernan was shocked by the amount of waste he encountered while sailing the world’s oceans. Preventing waste from entering waterways is still a key goal of Clean Up Australia Day, and Clean Up urges Queensland residents to do their bit by registering for 2011.


  1. Small paper
  2. Polystyrene pieces
  3. Cigarette butts
  4. Bottle caps and lids
  5. Plastic bags


  1. Roadway
  2. School grounds
  3. Beach/coastal
  4. Parks
  5. River/creek


  1. Plastic
  2. Paper
  3. Glass
  4. Miscellaneous
  5. Metal/aluminium

Other Rubbish Report findings:
Fact 1 – Queensland generates roughly 8 million tonnes of waste a year, of which 53% goes to landfill 5

Fact 2 – Queensland has the lowest waste generation per person in Australia 6

Fact 3 – The amount of paper removed by volunteers in Queensland was well above the national average of 15%

Fact 4 – Roadways were the most polluted sites surveyed in Queensland with 1347 items of rubbish collected per site, which is a 64% increase from 2009

Fact 5 – Cigarette butts accounted for 9% of all rubbish collected from sites in Queensland, down from 24% in 2008 and 17% in 2009

Fact 6 – Plastic was the most common rubbish item found in Queensland, making up 30% of all rubbish, a slight increase from 28% in 2009


1.    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/floods/8207964/brisbane-council-faces-440m-flood-bill
2.    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/cost-of-yasi-damage-will-top-500m-says-gillard-20110204-1agvk.html
3.    Figure taken from mX News Sydney – ‘$440m to rebuild riverside, Wednesday 9th February
4.    http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/floods/8207964/brisbane-council-faces-440m-flood-bill
5.    Figure taken from the EPHC National Waste Report 2010
6.    Please not that ‘Major Sources of Rubbish’ and ‘Males to Female Ratio’ are both based on these returned valid surveys

Website: www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/cleanupaustralia
Twitter: twitter.com/Clean_Up
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CleanUpAust

For any further media information or an interview, please contact:    
Monique Jones or Shadiyah Lim Taurus Marketing                                                              
Phone: +61 2 9415 4528 or +61 413 689 343                                                          
Email: monique@taurusmarketing.com.au / shadiyah@taurusmarketing.com.au