Littering, dumping fines double in crackdown

LITTERBUGS face a doubling of fines under sweeping reforms which will strengthen penalties and the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) powers to deter repeat offenders and make polluters pay.

Penalties for many environmental crimes will double under the biggest amendment to environmental protection laws since the EPA was created in 1991.
Most NSW environmental penalties haven’t increased for almost 20 years, including those for serious offences.
Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Penny Sharpe, said the changes would give the EPA more power to better protect precious places and to deter environmental crime.
“We need a tough environmental cop on the beat,” she said.
“These sweeping reforms will directly improve the protection of human health, the environment and the community.
“Penalties are being ramped up to reflect the risk of harm and disruption to the environment and the community and for those doing the wrong thing, the fine will no longer just be the cost of doing business.”
The changes will also mean: On-the-spot fines for general littering of small items doubling to $160 for individuals and corporations in public places; cracking down on small-scale illegal dumping with maximum penalties of $50,000 for companies and $25,000 for individuals; offences by corporations involving asbestos waste increased to a maximum of $4 million; wilful harm to environment from disposal of waste, or causing any substance to leak, spill or otherwise escape could cost companies $10 million and individuals $2 million; higher penalties for small scale illegal dumping on sensitive land such as childcare centres, hospitals, schools, national parks and beaches; and establishing a public ‘name and shame’ process to issue public warnings about poor environmental performers and sub-standard practices.