820kg find near river reveals 'disheartening' problem in Australia

Furniture, clothes, prams and shopping trolleys were found abandoned at what was once a campsite, prompting a mammoth clean-up.

Prams, furniture, clothes and shopping trolleys scattered along the riverbank at Petrie Creek, Queensland.
The discarded items are the remains of a homeless campsite near Petrie Creek on the Sunshine Coast. Source: FacebookSource: Facebook

A mess of discarded belongings scattered along a riverbank has revealed the "disheartening" reality Australia currently faces, with homelessness on the rise across the country.

Over 800 kilograms worth of furniture, clothes, prams and shopping trolleys were found along Petrie Creek near the Sunshine Coast last week and prompted a four-hour clean-up mission by locals after the campsite was abandoned.

"Homeless people are doing it, they go in there, they make these homeless camps," Ian Thomson from Ocean Crusaders, an organisation dedicated to cleaning up public spaces, explained to Yahoo News. "We do the clean-ups all the time up there so we know that these things are going on."

Ocean Crusaders have been cleaning up the local area since 2017 and Ian has seen an increase in the amount of mess littering the riverbank and extended area since then, believing the landscape would be "spectacular" if it was left untouched.

A woman wearing a cap and blue top standing beside the discarded items (left) and many shopping trolleys loaded into a boat (right).
The clean-up effort took four hours, with Ocean Crusaders responding to more and more of these campsites. Source: Facebook

"People would spend time down there, but with homeless in the area and the amount of rubbish, it's not that pretty... it's disheartening," he said.

Even local wildlife has been impacted, with the platypus population just clinging onto survival thanks to Ocean Crusaders regular clean-ups. "Local organisations were saying that the platypuses had disappeared, but since we've been cleaning in the last couple of years, have actually come back."

The latest census data found homelessness has risen at an alarming rate in the state — 22 per cent since 2017 — compared to the national increase of eight per cent since 2017. Approximately 10,000 people are homeless on any given night, with domestic violence, the competitive housing market and the rising cost of living all factors contributing to the increase.

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