New law targets illegal dumping in South Australia

New law targets illegal dumping in South Australia

The Local Nuisance and Litter Control Bill 2015 was passed in May to tackle illegal dumping and littering in the state.

The South Australian (SA) Parliament has passed new legislation to support councils to deal with and penalise illegal dumping and littering.

The Local Nuisance and Litter Control Bill 2015 was passed on 19 May. The Governor General gave assent to the Act on 26 May and it expected to come into force on 1 February 2017.

The new Act has been in development since 2012. It is designed to improve services to the community around litter regulation and local environmental nuisance, such as dust, smoke and noise. Previously, both councils and the EPA managed these issues, as it wasn’t clearly outlined who was the best placed to investigate them.

EPA SA will retain responsibility for helping councils to manage local nuisance complaints and for leading significant illegal dumping investigations; councils will continue to manage smaller-scale unlawful tipping cases.

The new Act introduces higher penalties for the illegal dumping of asbestos, including a maximum $250,000 fine or two year’s imprisonment. Other changes include improving surveillance technology to gather evidence and allowing for public reporting of littering and illegal dumping by associating alleged offence to a vehicle’s registered owner.

Commenting on the introduction of the new Act, South Australia Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Ian Hunter said: “The EPA will work with councils over the next year to bed down these new responsibilities.

“This legislation will give councils better tools for policing and enforcement to deal with complaints more effectively, leading to a cleaner environment, especially in regional areas.”

To underpin the effectiveness of the new legislation, the SA Government will launch a new app in 2017 to make it easier for members of the public to report cases of illegal dumping for a faster response by councils and the EPA.

The board of KESAB environmental solutions, the South Australian member of the Keep Australia Beautiful national association, welcomed the news that the Bill had been passed.

KESAB Executive Director John Phillips OAM said his organisation was pleased about the incoming legislation because it had proactively advocated for stronger enforcement measures to reduce the impact of bad littering and illegal dumping behaviour.

“Combined with KESAB litter education initiatives, leading container deposit legislation and a plastic shopping bag ban, this legislation will help South Australia to build on its clean and litter-free status culture which has developed over 50 years,” added Mr Phillips.

Details of the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Bill 2015 can be found on the EPA SA website.