Litter and the law

There are two ways to look at how the law plays its part in litter prevention:

Legislation and regulation

This means the Victorian Environment Protection Act 1970, and the local laws and regulations that local governments may apply. The Act is world leading legislation that prohibits and regulates littering in the environment and importantly, the distribution of materials that may become litter. To compliment these provisions, many local governments have their own local laws and permit conditions relating to litter and dumping.

Enforcement

The act of using the law to find and possibly prosecute littering offenders, and hopefully change their behaviours and that of those aware of the enforcement. The Environment Protection Act  1970 refers to various government authorities as litter authorities, empowered to use Part VIIA of the Act. These are Victoria Police, local governments, Parks Victoria, Department Environment and Primary Industries, VicRoads and Catchment Management Authorities. EPA Victoria has a broader range of enforcement powers relating to pollution of land, water and air.

The Act allows litter authorities to issue on-the-spot penalties, prosecute offenders, investigate the identity of offenders, and issue notices to clean up.

EPA Victoria Litter Enforcement Toolkit - 2014

The EPA Victoria Litter Enforcement Toolkit has been prepared as a resource tool to assist litter enforcement officers and agencies to develop and implement strategies to tackle littering issues and to assist in the implementation of the Environment Protection Act 1970 Part VIIA.

The toolkit can be found on the EPA Victoria website, along with relevant templates.

Guidelines for Local Laws

Local Government Victoria (now Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure) released its Best Practice Guidelines for Local Laws in February 2010. These and associated materials are an essential resource for councils to achieve best practice in local law making, and that includes litter laws.