It’s done. It’s dusted. It’s finally over. The 2020 ACT election is behind us, but many Canberrans are still expressing their disdain for roadside corflutes that continue to litter their suburbs.
Electoral advertising signs must come down within 48 hours of polls closing, meaning any corflute left after 6 pm on Monday, 19 October, is illegal.
But is it possible to have a corflute-free election next time around?
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has taken on some of the feedback from the community and says he will recommend a shorter caretaker and election period to the upcoming parliamentary election review.
“After every election, there is a parliamentary review of the electoral process,” he said. “In terms of corflutes, the parliamentary committee should look at that matter.
“My other priority is that for the ACT election campaign, the formal caretaker period is too long. It is longer than a federal election campaign and I think both the corflute period and the election period could benefit from being a little bit shorter.
“That is something I will put forward to the parliamentary committee that is considering how the 2020 election ran.”
The current corflute period covers the six weeks prior to the election date.
However, if it is up to the Greens, corflutes will be banned ahead of the next election. With the Greens holding the balance of power again, the policy could form part of the new parliamentary agreement with Labor.
The Greens’ campaign spokesperson for democracy, Emma Davidson, previously called corflutes “a huge turn off for the community and a huge waste of plastic”.
“It is well past time to get rid of these annoying electoral signs,” she said.
Greens leader Shane Rattenbury said the party chose not to put corflutes out there in the community this election, calling them “visual pollution”.
On top of visual pollution, most corflutes end up as actual pollution, said Ms Davidson.
“Once the election is over, we can only assume that most of these end up going straight into landfill,” she said. “What an utter waste.”
The ACT Government is trailling a new corflute recycling scheme from Monday, 19 October, starting with two free drop-off points at Mitchell Resource Management Centre and Mugga Lane Resource Management Centre in Symonston.
“Corflute cannot be recycled in your kerbside recycling yellow-lid bin and as there have been no local recycling options, it gets repurposed or goes to waste in landfill,” said ACT NoWaste’s executive branch manager, Anthony Haraldson.
“The ACT Government is pleased to be able to introduce an avenue for ACT businesses and government agencies to recycle their signage and reduce the amount sent to landfill.
“If the trial is successful, the ACT Government will consider options to introduce the service on a longer-term basis.”
The ACT Electoral Commission’s report on the 2016 ACT election noted there was a “relatively widespread degree of dissatisfaction with the proliferation of campaign signs across Canberra’s main roads and suburban streets” but stopped short of recommending roadside electoral signs be banned entirely.