Laws about Littering
Under Western Australia's Litter Act 1979, littering is illegal. The Act authorises Keep Australia Beautiful Council (as part of the Department of Environment), local government, police and other litter enforcement agencies to take action against those who litter. This action can be in the form of 'on-the-spot fines', or as reports to the KABC which are followed up by fines being sent to the offenders.
Not paying your fine can lead to court action or result in your fine being sent to the Fines Enforcement Registry which has the power to withdraw licences until the fine is paid.
NEW changes to litter laws come into effect on Friday 11 January 2013
New penalties for littering
In August 2012 the Western Australian Parliament passed amendments to the Litter Act 1979 which resulted in an increase in littering penalties and a greater range of littering offences.
Keep Australia Beautiful WA has developed the Western Australian New Litter Laws and Changes Resource Kit to update councils, governments and stakeholders on changes to the litter laws and to support agencies to communicate the new litter laws to the community and key stakeholders.
The kits contains downloadable resources that include: posters, litter laws fact sheet, advertisements, sample media release, newsletter article and bin sticker template.
How will these changes affect the public?
Littering fines will now cost more.
Cigarette butt littering fines have increased from $75 to $200 for individuals and $500 for corporations (businesses).
Fines for some offences have increased to $500 for individuals and $2000 for corporations.
If taken to court, maximum penalties for littering offences have increased to $5 000 for individuals and $10 000 for corporations, or in the case of offences against the litter regulations(in the table below), $5 000 for both individuals and corporations.
Vehicle owners will now have to take responsibility for any littering from their vehicle.
In cases of littering from vehicles, where neither the litterer nor the driver of the vehicle can be identified, the person responsible for the vehicle (usually the registered owner) will be deemed to have committed the offence and will have to pay the fine unless they can identify the offender.
There is a greater emphasis of littering that is hazardous to the community.
A new littering category called “Littering that creates a public risk’ will attract an infringement penalty of $500 for individuals and $2 000 for corporations. Examples include (but is not limited to) the littering of car bodies and car parts, batteries, hazardous chemicals or medicines, fridges and freezers with doors attached, tyres, lit cigarettes and syringes.(Details in table below).
What else do I need to know?
In Western Australia littering infringements can be issued by authorised officers that include: police officers, local government rangers and other officers employed by government departments that oversee the protection of the environment and waterways.
The Keep Australia Beautiful Council, through the Litter Report Scheme, issues infringements in response to litter reports from community members who are registered litter reporters.