City washes its hands of soap

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Yallingup resident Adel Zoueki believes soap dispensers need to be available in public toilets throughout Australia.
Camera IconYallingup resident Adel Zoueki believes soap dispensers need to be available in public toilets throughout Australia. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

For one Yallingup resident the need for public toilets to be stocked with soap dispensers has been a six-year crusade.

Adel Zoueki, 71, has been campaigning for a national law to improve personal hygiene since he noticed popular beachside amenities in the City of Busselton did not include soap dispensers.

His long campaign has included correspondence with the City of Busselton, Forrest MLA Nola Marino and local member Libby Mettam since 2014 and Mr Zoueki said the issue was now more prevalent than ever.

He said during COVID-19 Australia must become less complacent with personal hygiene to prevent the spread of disease.

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“It’s a must-have. You teach kids how to wash their hands in school but at public markets and barbecues there are no hygiene facilities nearby,” he said.

On March 1 City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley told Mr Zoueki that the cost and risk outweighed health impacts.

“As advised by myself and staff we have previously taken the position that the cost and risk associated with the provision of soap overrides the public health concerns,” he said. In response to COVID-19 City of Busselton staff supplied unmanned public toilets with bars of soap to improve public hygiene.

However, Mr Zoueki argued the measure was inadequate and the cost of dispensers was minimal compared to the potential for a “second wave” of COVID-19 cases in the South West if poor hygiene continued.

“When the City puts a soap the size of a coin in public toilets and pretends that is sufficient hygiene equipment during a pandemic, that is unacceptable,” Mr Zoueki said. City of Busselton director of engineering and works services Oliver Darby said soap dispensers and dryers had not been available in unmanned facilities for several years because of vandalism.

“City officers have investigated the feasibility of installing soap dispensers in unmanned ablutions,” he said.

“Council will be briefed on the findings of these investigations including cost implications and will ultimately decide whether to progress or not.”

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