Wollongong councillors have unanimously supported Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery's calls for an urgent review of the council's household clean-up service.
At Monday night's meeting, Cr Bradbery used a Lord Mayoral minute to ask council staff to look into ways to address problems with the twice-yearly rubbish pick-up program, saying it had led to a proliferation of illegal dumping in the city's streets.
Cr Bradbery said the program, which allows ratepayers to book two clean-ups a year on dates of their choosing, had posed problems since the beginning of his term as lord mayor.
He noted the council had received 490 complaints about non-conforming clean-ups in the past year, which he believed was a "conservative" figure.
Labor councillor David Brown welcomed the call for a review into the rubbish removal service, blaming "throwaway attitudes of a consumer society" for the problem.
"The issue here really is about attitude," Cr Brown said.
"People think they have some sort of right to jettison their private property into the public realm.
"The policy in place should work perfectly but it's obvious people are not doing the right thing."
He also noted it would be difficult to find a solution to the issue, saying prosecution was difficult without "smoking gun" evidence linking people with their piles of rubbish.
Cr Leigh Colacino also spoke in support of the motion, expressing interest in increasing the fines for illegal dumpers.
"I'm not sure that educating the general public is having the desired effect," he said.
Cr Bradbery's earlier comments that some residents using the existing program were "feral" and "out of control" sparked a strong reaction from Mercury readers.
A number of online readers took umbrage at the mayor's remarks, arguing that he had tarred all residents as "feral".
Many agreed illegal dumping was a problem but suggested the best way for the council to stop rubbish from piling up on the streets would be to offer householders free trips to the tip.
"Give us two free tip trips a year, it has to be cheaper for council to get residents to take the rubbish to the dump instead of paying contractors to do it," online reader Reg said.
However, many people applauded the mayor's statements, agreeing that tighter regulations should be implemented to stop people abusing the current system.
"Keep the on-call service. It is available when people actually need it, not when the council decides. Simple. Anyone leaving rubbish kerbside without ordering a pick-up should be fined," online reader PeJay said.
"The household pick-up system is fantastic for those that use it as intended," KenM said.
"I often see piles of goods out the front of flats and units when the occupants move out. Surely some follow-up from council officers could resolve these instances."