The law which could see you fined $440 - and it's broken on nearly every city street

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

You’d struggle to walk down any busy city street across Australia without seeing one.

So you might be surprised to discover that bill posters that are routinely wrapped around lamp posts are actually illegal.

The posters, which are often seen promoting a range of things including music gigs, sporting events and festivals, cost local councils hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove from unlawful locations such as lamp posts and sides of buildings.

Bill posters on lamp posts are a common sight across Australia's major cities. Source: AAP

The City of Sydney said in the financial year of 2014-2015, it spent roughly $900,000 on the removal of unlawful bills.

Being such a financial burden, the council urges residents to report people spotted putting up posters via their online tool, which can lead to $330 on-the-spot fines.

In NSW, individuals caught putting up bill posters can face a fine of $440 under the Graffiti Control Act 2008.

However, according to the NSW Government, only 57 people were charged and convicted for bill posting without consent.

NSW seeking tougher laws

The Department of Communities and Justice is currently undertaking a review to see if the state should tighten bill posting laws and align with Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

Laws in those states allows companies making a financial gain from bill posters to also be charged, as opposed to just the individual hired to stick the posters u[.

The punishment for those who “authorise, commission, arrange, incite, cause, counsel or procure” bill posting is often greater than that of an individual carrying out the offence.

Bill posting on lamp posts is illegal across the nation. Source: City of Sydney

For example in Western Australia, people can face fines of $10,000 if found guilty of doing so.

Despite the lack of convictions regarding bill posting convictions, Attorney-General Mark Speakman said last month the government has taken a “strong stance” on the issue.

“Tackling graffiti and illegal bill posting helps drive down crime in local communities and protect public facilities and private properties," he said.

"We want to find out whether graffiti laws are helping to reduce costs for councils, local businesses and residents who foot the bill for clean-ups.”

Yahoo News Australia contacted a leading bill poster distributing company to ask how it operates, but they failed to provide comment by the time of publication.

Community posters, such as lost pet flyers, which bring no financial gain, are not classified as bill posters.

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