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Queensland's littering and illegal dumping laws

In 2011 Queensland’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 (WRR Act) was introduced into legislation, and aims to:

  • promote waste avoidance and reduction, resource recovery and efficiency actions
  • reduce the consumption of natural resources and minimise the disposal of waste by encouraging waste avoidance and the recovery, re-use and recycling of waste
  • minimise the overall impact of waste generation and disposal
  • ensure a shared responsibility between government, business and industry and the community in waste management and resource recovery
  • support and implement national frameworks, objectives and priorities for waste management and resource recovery.

The WRR Act provides legislation to manage litter and illegal dumping within the State and is administered by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP). Under the WRR Act, it is an offence for a person to unlawfully deposit waste. The WRR Act identifies litter and illegal dumping offences as:

  • littering under 200L, including littering from a vehicle or vessel
  • dangerous littering under 200L
  • illegal dumping—200L or more, to less than 2500L
  • illegal dumping—2500L and over.

Dangerous littering is litter that causes or is likely to cause harm to a person, property or the environment. This includes throwing a lit cigarette butt onto dry grass in extreme fire danger conditions,, leaving a syringe in a public place, or smashing a glass bottle on the footpath.

The WRR Act allows members of the public who have witnessed a littering or illegal dumping incident the opportunity to report it. The law also allows authorised persons to issue penalty infringement notices (fines), as well as compliance notices for the clean-up of the illegal dumping. This may involve the collection, transportation, storage, treatment or disposal of the waste to ensure the impact on the environment is minimised and the person responsible does not impose a cost to the administering authority.

If a person fails to comply with a compliance notice they may face further penalties. In the case where the waste may cause serious or material environmental harm, it would be dealt with under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. A range of compliance tools such as Penalty Infringement Notices (fines), Direction Notices, Clean-up Notices and Environmental Protection Orders can be used to manage these offences. The department has developed compliance guidelines to outline in which circumstances these tools may be used.

Littering and illegal dumping penalties

Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 section and offence

Maximum penalty in court PIN amount for individuals PIN amount for corporations
Penalty units Amount Penalty units Amount Penatly units Amount

Section 103(1)(a): general littering if the offence involves dangerous littering

40 penalty units $5,046 4 penalty units $504 16 penalty units $2,018
Section 103(1)(b): general littering 30 penalty units $3,784 2 penalty units $252 10 penalty units $1,261
Section 104(1)(a): illegal dumping of waste provision if the offence involves depositing a volume of less than 2500L of waste 400 penalty units $50,460 16 penalty Units $2018 50 penalty units $6,307
Section 104(1)(b): illegal dumping of waste provision if the offence involves depositing a volume of more than 2500L of waste 1000 penalty units $126,150 20 penalty units $2523 75 penalty units $9,461
Section 251(c): A person must comply with a compliance notice 300 penalty units $37,845 10 penalty units $1,261 50 penalty units $6,307
Section 265: giving false or misleading information 1665 penalty units $210,039        

Please note: Penalties are current at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

Last updated
19 July 2017