End of an era for bill posters

Issued: Thursday, 28 August 2014
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NSW Attorney General Brad Hazzard has ordered a review of graffiti laws to crack down on commercial bill posters which costs local councils millions of dollars a year to clean up and remove.

“I was shocked to see figures which showed over four years the City of Sydney spent $6 million removing and cleaning up 340,000 bill posters, which involved nearly 5 tonnes of paper,” Mr Hazzard said.

“Clearly the current situation where the person who posts the bill is held responsible is not stopping people who every night are papering walls and public space.

“I have asked the Department of Justice to examine options to assist councils, including making those who gain commercially from illegal bill posting liable for penalties.

“We need to send a message to operators that bill posting is going to be difficult and unprofitable for them, so they’d be better off doing the right thing and paying for commercial advertising or using council-designated free sites.

“The NSW Government has already done a lot to combat unsightly graffiti with new laws to capture new and emerging threats such as acid etching and also clearing the way for courts to give more offenders clean up orders.

“As well, local communities have embraced the NSW Government-funded Graffiti Removal Day to clean up their neighbourhoods, which will be held Sunday October 26 this year.”

The Department of Justice will commence the statutory review of the Graffiti Control Act 2008 in December this year.

The review will examine: transferring responsibility from the bill poster to the commercial entity/individual that gains financial benefit; increased penalties and the implications for giving councils the power to issue penalty notices.

The review covers private companies exploiting this area for profit and does not cover allowed activities such as advertising garage sales and school fetes, small community messages, posters for lost pets and political advertising for local, state and federal elections. Political parties are required to remove posters after an election.

“We are backing local councils and communities who want ratepayers dollars spent for community benefit not the benefit of commercial operators running businesses on the cheap,” Mr Hazzard said.