Saturday, April 2, 2011

Letter to Leichhardt

It will be interesting to see what sort of response I get to this letter:


Citizen Service Centre,
Leichhardt Council
Ground Floor,
7-15 Wetherill Street,
Leichhardt NSW 2040

Dear Sir/Madam

Prosecution of illegal bill posters in the Leichhardt area

I am writing in regard to the proliferation of illegal bill posters on public property in the Leichhardt area, and the prosecution by Council of those responsible.

As you may be aware, this is covered by the Protection of the Environment Operations Act. Bill posting is considered illegal because it is a form of pollution. Councils can issue fines directly to those responsible for producing the bill poster.

Bill posters can degrade and become litter. The proliferation of posters can produce a significant amount of litter, particularly where the posters are made of inferior paper products, are not protected from the elements and are left to degrade. The litter is often deposited upon land and in some instances is conveyed to street gutters where it can further go on to pollute waters. Putting up posters is environmental vandalism.

I refer in particular to the following two sites:

The bridge over the railway line – corner Catherine Street and Lilyfield Road, Lilyfield, and
The road underpass under the railway line at Charles St, Lilyfield (corner of Darley Road).

Posters are frequently put up illegally at both sites, and more importantly, the posters come down quite often and end up as piles of litter on the footpath and on the verge. Either they are not sticking to the walls particularly well, or passing pedestrians are tearing them down.

I am requesting that Council prosecute those responsible for putting up these posters – including the organisations and companies who have paid to have them put up. I am also requesting that Council either undertakes regular clean-ups at these sites (and others like them in the Leichhardt area), or arranges for the responsible government agency to do so (eg, RTA and/or RailCorp).

Yours sincerely

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I didn't write all that myself - I lifted some of the text from Newcastle Council and some from the City of Sydney. If that's what other councils are doing and saying, then there should be no reason for Leichhardt not to follow suit.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

These sites under the bridges etc are legal sites. It's leased out by rail Corp for advertising.

Anonymous said...

Another shocking offender is the IVY Bar run by millionaire Justin Hemmes. It is not unusual to see almost every electricity/lamp pole along Victoria Road plastered with illegal posters promoting this venue (New Years Eve, Australia Day events etc) yet it appears that the councils and power companies never bother to proecute these apparent 'protected species'.

Not Somebody Else's Problem said...

I know RailCorp leases sites for billboards on railway stations, but I wasn't aware that they did underbridges as well - if so, their policy has changed.

I'll check on that - I once worked for the Marketing Manager of CityRail, and he was in charge of all billboard and other advertising.

I did get this response from the RTA last week:

"Regarding your enquiry of 23 March 2010, the RTA does not allow posters to be displayed on over/under passes on bridges so any application to do so would be declined."

Mark said...

Perhaps councils could consider the potential application of sec 146C of the Act.
The difficulty in needing to have direct evidence to prosecute under sec 146A is that the offender needs to be caught in the act but it seems that there may be no need to see the posters being erected to support a 146C action.
My layman's reading of the act suggests that under Sec 6 of the Act council is an appropriate regulatory authority and council's enforcement officers are therefore empowered by section 224 to issue penalty notices, IF it appears to the enforcement officer that the person has committed a penalty notice offence. Such notices may be served personally or by post.

Offences under sec 146C may be dealt with by penalty notice.
If Council has evidence that the posters were erected (self evident when they are actually posted) then someone definitely "cause(d), ask(ed), require(d) or induce(d)," the person (perhaps unknown) who put them up.
It would seem logical for council to presume that such parties would include the owners of venues advertised in the posters, promoters of events advertised in the posters and the artists themselves. Each of these parties stands to gain by the erection of the posters and an implicit inducement by each of them could be construed.

Perhaps councils could consider issuing tier 3 (tier 2 by notice) penalty notices against each party identified on the posters. Under such proceedings the prosecution is not required to prove intent.

The Act offers defences against Tier 1 (much more serious matters) as set out below

118 General defence for tier 1 offences
It is a defence in any proceedings against a person for an offence under this Part if the person establishes:
(a) that the commission of the offence was due to causes over which the person had no control, and
(b) that the person took reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to prevent the commission of the offence.

It would seem likely that the defences available under much less weighty Tier 3 will be just as stringent and limited.