4 November 2019

Litter fines are a winner, but how do you feel about Halloween?

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Halloween is increasingly celebrated in Australia, but how do you feel about it? Photo: File.

Some of the polls we run are very close but there are others where RiotACT readers stand united. And that’s the case with last week’s question on littering.

Hot on the heels of drastically increased fines for many kinds of littering, we wanted to know how you felt about the stiff penalties the ACT government has imposed.

Fines for dropping a cigarette butt in the ACT will increase dramatically from $60 to $500 while littering a coffee cup will incur a $150 fine, small-items littering, such as tickets or food wrappings, will incur a $150 fine instead of $60.

The fines for not securing a load on a vehicle or a trailer increase from $500 to $1,500 and for not returning a shopping trolley when directed by an authorised person from $60 to $150.

There is also a framework for escalating offences, where penalties increase according to the volume, mass or nature of litter dumped. Dumping under 10 litres of litter will attract a $500 fine, 10 to 200 litres will attract a $1,000 fine, while 200 to 1000 litres will incur a $1,500 fine.

But the Greens had raised concerns about how the fines would impact the most vulnerable members of the community, voicing concerns for homeless people in particular.

The ACT is dramatically increasing the fines for some kinds of littering including cigarette butts and syringes. Is this a good idea? we asked. A total of 614 votes were recorded.

Your options were No, it’s likely to penalise the homeless and hurt vulnerable people. That option received just 18 per cent support (110 votes). By contrast, you could vote Yes, the city is a mess and littering is antisocial behaviour. Pay up. That was the clear winner with a thundering 82 per cent of the total (or 504 votes).

This week, we’re asking whether you got all spooky with Halloween festivities.

In recent years there’s been a rapid growth in the number of Australians participating in the 31 October fun and games. Houses are draped with cobwebs and ornamented with ghoulish pumpkins, while tribes of children go trick or treating through the suburbs.

But the tradition is unfamiliar enough that it can still be easily met with a total lack of comprehension. While recent research identified Halloween as more popular and easily identified than St Patrick’s Day, there is still plenty of opposition to what many see as the increasing Americanisation of our culture.

Tell us what you think.

Halloween is now reportedly more popular than St Patricks Day. Did you wheel out the skeletons and the pumpkins and get the lollies ready for trick or treating?

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