Unlawful distribution of advertising material
Delivery of advertising material from 1 April 2001
into newspaper receptacles
under doors to premises
on car windscreen wipers
on property gates or fences
in public places
on open private places
anywhere it could become litter
advertising material folded or inserted into newspapers
receptacle or under a door (i.e. phone books)
parking infringement notices placed on motor vehicles
Under these new laws it is illegal to put advertising material under car windscreen wipers, on top of letterboxes, on property gates or fences, in a public place, in open private places and in other inappropriate places where it could become litter.
The laws do not cover newspapers, parking fines or material that is too big to fit into a letterbox, newspaper receptacle or under a door (ie phone books). Delivery of bulky advertising material should be made to a sensible place or where indicated by the householder, or in such a way that it won't become litter.
The laws are not designed to stop the delivery of advertising material. The NSW Government is simply making sure that advertising material is delivered properly so that it doesn't end up littering our streets, gutters, parks, gardens and waterways, becoming an aesthetic and environmental problem.
As part of the NSW Government Litter Prevention Program, these laws reflect community concern about litter and its potential to pollute local communities and waterways. It has been backed by a strong community education campaign in partnership with key industry groups.
The new laws came into effect on 1 April 2001, It is now acceptable to put advertising material only into letterboxes, newspaper receptacles or under doors of premises.
Section 144A of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (POEO Act) defines 'advertising material' as:
' ... any paper product (including a leaflet, brochure or magazine), or other material thing, that contains advertising or promotional matter.'
Examples of advertising material include:
- leaflet from a real estate agent
- newsletter containing advertising about retail, sporting, school, community or political organisations or activities
- refrigerator magnet advertising the services of a tradesperson
- packet containing a free sample of detergent.
You can be fined if you distribute your advertising material inappropriately. You can also be fined if you cause or ask someone else to distribute your advertising material inappropriately. On the spot fines range from $200 to $400. Court fines range from $550 to $3,300.
It is an offence to cause, ask or induce a person to deliver advertising material contrary to the Act. This offence can apply, for example, where there is evidence that a distribution company is encouraging its staff to incorrectly deliver advertising material.
The maximum penalties which apply if the case is taken to court are:
- depositing advertising material in a public place, open private place (i.e. private land outside of a building) or on a vehicle - $550 (corporations or individuals)
- causing or asking a person to deliver advertising material in contravention of the law - $3,300 (corporations) and $770 (individuals).
Complementary penalty notice offences have also be introduced:
- depositing advertising material in place or on vehicle - $400 (corporations) and $200 (individuals)
- causing or asking a person to deposit advertising material contrary to the Act - $400 (corporations) and $200 (individuals).
There are a number of exceptions to the advertising material offences:
- It is not an offence to distribute:
- a newspaper (and inserts) in any manner
- anything that is of such a size, shape or volume that it is not possible or appropriate for it to be deposited in a mail box, newspaper receptacle or under a door
- anything by or with the consent of the custodian of the place
- anything in accordance with any regulation (although no regulations have been made as at June 2000). It is expected that a regulation relating to this provision will be made before the legislation starts, on 1 April 2001.
- It is not an offence for the custodian of a vehicle to deposit advertising material on their vehicle, or for someone else to do so with the express consent of the custodian. (In relation to parking stations, the express permission of the vehicle owners or drivers is still required. The custodian of a parking station cannot allow advertising to be placed on the vehicles parked in the station without this permission.)
Questions relating to the new litter laws and other litter questions are answered in the frequently asked questions section.
Campaign materials for the new advertising distriubution laws including newspaper ads, brochures and flyers are available in the council litter prevention resources kit (see thumbnails below).
The kit also contains:
- sample media releases
- fact sheet on new advertising material distribution laws
- how to implement this campaign in your area
- quotes from Environment Minister Bob Debus
- material from phase one of the litter prevention program
Double sided brochure - side 1
Page last updated: 02 March 2011