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 last week (19 May).
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.
Commenting on the introduction of the new Act, Environment Minister 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.”
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.
To underpin the effectiveness of the new legislation, the SA Government will launch a new app next year 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 new Act will come into force after being announced by the Governor General.