‘We’ll find you, we’ll fine you, and you’ll clean it up’
Council has put together a list of frequently asked questions about bill posters.
Why are bill posters a problem?
Damage to the environment
Bill posters can degrade and become litter. The proliferation of posters can produce a significant amount of litter, particularly where the posters are made of inferior paper products, are not protected from the elements and are left to degrade. The litter is often deposited upon land and in some instances is conveyed to street gutters where it can further go on to pollute waters.
Cost of clean up of litter, and bill poster removal
Council allocates and lot of time and money to litter clean up and bill poster removal. Other public utilities such as the RTA and Energy Australia, and private landowners also spend time and money dealing with this issue.
Risks to public safety
Where bill posters are located in public places such as on roadsides, they can create a distraction to drivers. In some cases, bill posters are placed over other important information, such as directional signs and road safety information.
Proliferation of unauthorised advertising
If not dealt with quickly, bill posters can be perceived by the community as a legitimate form of advertising which can lead to more bill posters being erected.
Bill posters make an area unsightly, particularly as the posters begin to degrade and become litter. Council is keen to keep Newcastle’s streets clean, and removing bill posters is part of that process.
What is Council doing about bill posters?
1. Proactive patrols
Council’s Compliance Team responds to proactively investigates the placement of bill posters in public places.
2. Responding to customer requests for action
Council’s Compliance Team responds to customer requests regarding bill posters.
3. Removal of posters
In the first instance, Council seeks to make those responsible for the posters to promptly remove them. If this is not possible, Council crews remove the posters at the offender’s expense.
4. Information to venues and promoters
Council has put entertainment venues on notice that they will be subject to investigation and possible fines where their venue is promoted in bill posters and they are found to have aided or abetted the placement of the posters.
5. Provision of approved bill poster sites
Council has designated bill poster poles at the corner of Wood and Hunter Streets Newcastle West, and at the corner of Maitland Road and Mary Street Islington.
What powers does Council have to deal with bill posters?
The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act provide council with powers to investigate the illegal placement of bill posters, and take action against offenders.
What specific actions can Council require of offenders?
When Council identifies the persons responsible for a bill poster incident, the following actions can be taken:
- Serve notices requiring information and or records about the incident, including identifying all the people involved
- Require action to remove bill posters and clean up any litter created by their degradation
- Issuing fines for placing the posters
- Issuing fines for failing to comply with Council notices, order or directions
- Requiring offenders to pay Council’s costs in removing posters
- Prosecuting offenders in Court.
What can I do to report illegal bill posters?
Phone (02) 4974 2000
What has Council done about bill posters recently?
Fat as Butter Bill Posters
The City of Newcastle has moved quickly to take action against a company associated with the Fat as Butter festival for putting up large numbers of illegal advertising posters.
Manager Compliance Services ADAM GILLIGAN says illegal posters promoting the event appeared early last week on traffic signal boxes, hoardings and substations across the city.
“The posters were unsightly, created a distraction to drivers and after some rain had already begun to deteriorate resulting in litter on the streets.”
“Council officers investigated and issued a clean-up direction to the offender, requiring the posters to be removed within three days.”
“The majority of posters have now been taken down and we will continue to liaise with the offender to ensure that any remaining advertisements are also removed.”
In addition, Council issued fines for littering and development without consent.
Fat as Butter Bill Posters – Served clean up notice requiring removal. Posters not removed by offender, so the offender was fined. Offender removed posters.
Beach Party - Multiple fines issued to offender.
Cat Power - Multiple fines issued to offender.
What can I do to lawfully promote my event?
Council recommends event promotion by using:
- Newspaper advertising
- The inside of shop windows with the shop owner’s approval
- Council’s approved bill poster poles
- Approved signs at the event venue.