Local litter hero left in the lurch

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Passionate Walpole anti-litter crusader Michael Filby is disgusted rubbish is not being removed from Boat Harbour rest area.
Camera IconPassionate Walpole anti-litter crusader Michael Filby is disgusted rubbish is not being removed from Boat Harbour rest area. Credit: Malcolm Heberle

There are not many people like Michael Filby in this world.

He’s a local hero who likes to spend a lot of his time cleaning up the town of Walpole.

The 74-year-old is keeping the 105km stretch of highway between Northcliffe and Peaceful Bay free of litter in a bid to make the Walpole Wilderness Area the biggest declared litter-free zone in Australia.

Some people in Walpole refer to him as the “local litter hero” who has picked up more than 100 tonnes of rubbish on the South West Highway.

Throughout the years, the State Government through the Keep Australia Beautiful Council has given small donations to Mr Filby to cover some of his “clean-up” costs.

However, to the surprise of many, this arrangement has come to an end.

The news surprised Nationals MP Terry Redman who shared Mr Filby’s story in Parliament and asked the State to continue making small donations to the town’s litter hero.

“His treatment by the State Government is mean-spirited at best and at worst a significant slap in the face for all volunteers who give tirelessly of themselves to the community,” Mr Redman said.

“Mr Filby is well-recognised nationally and applauded in the region for keeping the main highway litter free, a selfless task he has done for 15 years and mostly at his own expense.

“Through Mr Filby’s efforts, he has assisted Walpole and surrounding towns win the Keep Australia Beautiful Council’s Tidy Town Awards on several occasions, and in fact, Mr Filby was awarded the prestigious Dame Phillips Frost award for his work on promoting anti-littering.”

Mr Redman said the South West Highway that Mr Filby cleaned daily was the gateway to the Walpole Wilderness Area, which is internationally recognised as a biodiversity hotspot, as well as the world-famous Tree Top Walk.

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