The City of Belmont has welcomed the State Government’s announcement at the weekend of its plans to regulate copper, similar to other metals like gold and silver, to tackle the growing problem of copper theft in Western Australia.
This comes as a result of the City’s Community Safety Taskforce writing to Police Minister Michelle Roberts in June this year calling on the Government to introduce new legislation to address the metal theft issue and the sale of scrap metal, after it was identified as affecting the City of Belmont community.
City of Belmont Chief Executive Officer John Christie welcomed the Police Minister’s announcement at the weekend.
“I am pleased to hear the Minister’s announcement as the City’s Community Safety Taskforce and Community Safety Alliance identified this as a priority issue with members of our community being affected by metal theft crime in recent times,” Mr Christie said.
“In the letter to the Minister, the Taskforce asked for support with a view to the State Government implementing some practical and effective legislation to assist WA Police and the victims of metal theft in addressing this problem,” he said.
“Due to its high scrap value many State run organisations responsible for major infrastructure are also impacted by this type of crime at great inconvenience to the service provider and expense to the taxpayer,” he said.
“Currently the sale of scrap metal is largely unregulated with little identification, traceability or sale controls required or implemented. As such the theft and sale of metal can flourish in a lucrative, ‘cash in hand’ environment.
“The City’s push for legislative change also has support from the Belmont Business Advisory Group (BBAG) - an advisory group to the City. BBAG is made up of approximately 16 representatives of local businesses and property owners including the Belmont Forum Shopping Centre, Perron Group and Coxon Group–with some of BBAG’s members affected by metal theft crime.”
Under the Government's proposed amendments, sellers of copper will be required to produce identification and licenced dealers in copper will be required to record all transactions and report details to police.
It was also announced, that the WA Police Force is running proactive operations to target those involved in copper theft.