The Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016 (SA) has extensive provisions dealing with the disposal of litter. Litter is defined broadly under section 22 but there are three main categories:
- class A hazardous litter – either domestic or commercial waste consisting of asbestos; material containing asbestos; any substance prescribed by the regulations; or, a combination of material as listed.
- class B hazardous litter – when disposed of onto land or into waters – live cigarettes or cigarette butts; used syringes; waste glass; any material prescribed by regulation; or, a combination of material as listed. When disposed into waters – any disused or decommissioned vehicle or appliance.
- general litter – means any solid or liquid domestic or commercial waste which includes, but is not limited to, cigarettes or cigarette butts; chewing gum; food or food scraps; beverage containers; packaging; clothing, footwear or other personal items; furniture; garden cuttings or clippings or other plant matter; landscaping material; dead or diseased animals; vehicles or vehicle parts; farming machinery; building and construction material or equipment; any material used or generated in the course of carrying out a prescribed activity of environmental significance; any substance or material of a kind prescribed by regulation.
The penalties for dumping or discarding litter depend on the type and volume of the litter disposed. The table belows refers to offences committed by individuals. For information about the penalties that apply to a body corporate see section 22 of the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016 (SA).
|Offence||Maximum penalty (monetary)||Maximum penalty (imprisonment)||Expiation|
|Disposal of any amount of class A hazardous litter||$120 000||2 years||-|
|Disposal of 50 litres or more of class B hazardous litter or general litter||$30 000||6 months||$1 000|
|Disposal of up to 50 litres of class B hazardous litter||$10 000||-||$500|
|Disposal of up to 50 litres of general litter||$5 000||-||$210|
Litter is considered to have been disposed if it is deposited on land or in water, or blown or falling onto premises including from a vehicle [s 22(2)].
If requested by an authorised officer, the litter must be removed by the person responsible for having discarded it and failure to do so is an offence [s 24].
Maximum penalty: $5 000 [expiation fee: $210]
A person who reasonably suspects another person of having disposed of litter or having posted a bill on property without the consent of the owner or occupier may notify the relevant council [s 25]. This can be done in person, by letter, email or fax or online via the Dob in a Litterer Website or using the Dob in a Litterer app. See also the Public Litter Reporting fact sheet published by the Local Government Association.
Litter abatement notices
Under section 30 of the Act a council may issue a litter abatement notice requiring a person to discontinue a specified activity; refrain from carrying on a specified activity; clean up any litter that has been caused by a contravention of the Act or make good any damage to property caused by contravention of the Act.
It is an offence to fail to comply with such a notice. The maximum penalty is $30 000 [expiation fee: $500].
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.