How To Report Illegal Dumping & Littering in Australia

We all know that dumping rubbish without a permit is bad, but is it actually illegal in every state in Australia?

Dumping rubbish without a permit is illegal in every state in Australia, and carries considerable fines and even jail time. If you witness illegal dumping or littering, you can contact the environmental protection branch of your state government or by contacting Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.  

If illegally dumped material poses an immediate hazard, such as an explosive or fire risk then contact the emergency services on 000. 

As waste management experts, we’ve outlined what constitutes illegal dumping and how you can report these incidents, keeping your community and environment clean. 

What Is Illegal Dumping in Australia?

Illegal dumping is the unauthorised disposal of waste on public or private land or water without a licence, approval, or permit from the relevant authority such as the Council or the Environment Protection Authority (EPA). 

The definition is broad and includes things such as small bags of rubbish within an urban community up to larger scale dumping of waste in isolated locations such as bushlands. Items that are commonly found in illegal dumpings are general household rubbish such as white goods, furniture, mattresses, building and garden waste, as well as hazardous materials such as asbestos.

Is Illegal Dumping a Criminal Offence in Australia?

Yes, illegal dumping is a criminal offence in Australia and carries potential fines and prison time. Fines range from $119 for on-the-spot fines for minor offences to $1,000,000 and/or seven years imprisonment for wilfully negligent dumping that causes environmental harm. Each state and territory has their own legislation in place to combat this, so exact fines and penalties will differ. 

Why Is Illegal Dumping a Problem in Australia?

Illegal dumping causes negative environmental, financial, and social impacts. For instance, green waste that was illegally dumped may cause infestations of weeds and pests. Hazardous items such as asbestos and other chemicals can contaminate soil and water, which presents a health risk to both humans and animals. 

Some of the biggest issues caused by illegal dumping include:

Health and Safety Concerns 

Illegally dumping rubbish in your area or local neighbourhood does not simply affect it aesthetically, but it has tangible impacts on the people as well. Dumped rubbish can and will block access to paths and driveways, making it both an inconvenience and a hazard. It is especially hazardous to the elderly and people with disabilities, especially in areas with already restricted accessibility.

Illegally dumped waste may also contain toxic materials such as fuel, asbestos, and chemicals that can seep into the ground and contaminate the bushlands and nearby water sources. This will ultimately harm both humans and wildlife. Lastly, illegally dumped materials can also become a fire risk which is especially dangerous in a bushfire-prone country like Australia. 

Environmental Damage 

Pollution caused by illegally dumped waste usually ends up in rivers before drifting into the ocean. You have probably seen turtles with plastic packaging wrapped around their shells, or whales with kilos of plastic found inside their belly. This is what’s caused by otherwise ‘small’ instances of illegal dumping. 

Illegal dumping also causes toxic buildups in our local environment. Toxins and pollutants that have come from dumped rubbish will seep into the ground and local waterways, damaging local flora and harming wildlife. 

Financial Burdens 

Australian councils have to invest significant amounts of money into keeping public areas clean and their population healthy. Illegal dumping means that these funds can’t be used on other projects to benefit the community, but as long as people are dumping, local governments bear the burden of cleaning up. 

In addition, a lot of the materials that are found in illegally dumped rubbish are actually recyclable or can be repurposed. Taking the time to recycle, repurpose, or donate ensures these valuable resources can be reclaimed instead of wasted.

No time to sort it out yourself? You may be surprised that up to 90% of skip bin rubbish is recycled after collection, making skip bins an environmentally conscious and convenient way to dispose of unwanted materials. 

What Do I Do if I See Someone Illegal Dumping or Littering?

Any sighting of illegal dumping in Australia should be reported to the authorities. Be sure to relay any relevant information about the dumping. Every state has a government website where you can report the illegal dumping of rubbish.

Whether submitted via online form or phone, you should report any details you have about the illegal dumping or littering witnessed. Since the authorities can find the people involved quicker when more details are included in the report, the more information, the better. 

If you witness illegal dumping from a car or truck, the most important information to record is the licence plate number or other identifying information about the vehicle. This allows the authorities to track and identify the vehicle’s registered owner. 

Details to record if you see illegal dumping include:

  • The date and time of the incident
  • The location or address, including landmarks or other identifiable features
  • The vehicle’s registration number, colour, make and model
  • Any distinguishing features of the vehicle (this includes dents, modifications, stickers, etc.)
  • Description of the person involved, if seen (useful details include gender, clothing, and hair colour, among others)
  • The type of waste material
  • Photos of the vehicle, the waste, and other relevant photos 

After the council or department has finished investigating your report, you may be contacted by the authorities to confirm the details and provide a witness statement.

How Do I Report Illegal Dumping in Western Australia?

In WA, you can report illegal dumping incidents to Pollution Watch through their online form or by calling their hotline at 1300 784 782. The WA Government has also partnered with Crime Stoppers WA where community members can report illegal dumping anonymously.

What Is the Fine for Illegal Dumping in Western Australia?

Illegal dumping in WA carries a maximum penalty of $125,000 for corporations and $62,500 for individuals. Fines for littering can be up to $10,000 for corporations and $5,000 for individuals.

How Do I Report Illegal Dumping in the Northern Territory?

In the NT, you can report illegal dumping incidents through the NT Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) hotline at 1800 064 567. You may also opt to report via the NT EPA pollution reporting online form.

What Is the Fine for Illegal Dumping in the Northern Territory?

The NT EPA will seek an on-the-spot fine of $119 for individuals and $656 for corporations for illegally dumping rubbish. A separate court-imposed penalty can reach up to $11,473 and $57,365 for individuals and corporations respectively.

If the illegal dumping causes serious environmental harm, then court-imposed penalties that reach up to $573,650 and $2,866,760 for individuals and corporations respectively can be imposed.

 How Do I Report Illegal Dumping in South Australia?

You can report illegal dumping or littering in South Australia to the EPA by calling their hotlines at (08) 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445. You can also send a fax to (08) 8124 4670 or send an email to

What Is the Fine for Illegal Dumping in South Australia?

The penalty for illegal dumping in South Australia is a fine of up to $120,000 or up to two years of imprisonment. Corporations can be fined up to $250,000. 

Landowners who knowingly allow waste to be illegally dumped on their land without an appropriate licence will also be fined up to $60,000 if they are individuals, and up to $120,000 if they are corporations.

How Do I Report Illegal Dumping in Queensland?

You can report illegal dumping that you witness through the Littering and Illegal Dumping Reporting Form. You can also call 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or send an email to

What Is the Fine for Illegal Dumping in Queensland?

The fine for illegal dumping in Queensland is up to $1,378 for individuals and $6,892 for corporations. There are additional court penalties that may be imposed, reaching up to $229,520 for individuals and $1,147,600 for corporations. 

How Do I Report Illegal Dumping in NSW?

In New South Wales, you can report illegal dumping by calling the EPA through their phone line at 131 555 or by sending an email to Alternatively, you can also contact the local police station at 131 444 or Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000. 

What Is the Fine for Illegal Dumping in NSW?

On the spot fines for illegal dumping in New South Wales are $7,500 for individuals and $15,000 for corporations. At maximum, the fines for illegal dumping in NSW are $1,000,000 and 7 years imprisonment for individuals and $5,000,000 for corporations. 

How Do I Report Illegal Dumping in Victoria?

You can report illegal dumping in Victoria by calling the pollution hotline at 1300 372 842. Alternatively, you can also register for and use the EPA Interaction Portal, or directly report to your local council.

What Is the Fine for Illegal Dumping in Victoria?

The fine for illegally dumping in Victoria starts at $363 for individuals and $1,817 for corporations. Depending on the infringement, there can be multiple fine units, which will multiply the total amount. For example, dangerous litter offences carry up to four fine units for individuals and twenty fine units for corporations. 

How Do I Report Illegal Dumping in the ACT?

You can report illegal dumping activities by calling Access Canberra at 13 22 81 or by filling out the Access Canberra Feedback Form.

What Is the Fine for Illegal Dumping in the ACT?

Under the Litter Act 2004 basic littering penalties include a $1,000 fine for individuals and $5,000 for businesses. On the other hand, the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 carries penalties for the dumping of illegal substances in the ACT of up to $200,000 for individuals or $1,000,000 for businesses or seven years of imprisonment.

How to Dispose of Unwanted Items Legally in Australia

There are many options around Australia for the safe & legal disposal of rubbish. 

Local Council Waste Services 

Local councils in Australia have their designated waste and recycling services which include landfill and resource recovery centres. 

Since the available methods depend on your area of residence, it is best to ask your local council about the rules on recycling, reusing, collection, and disposal of materials. This is especially important for very large items such as furniture or items containing potentially hazardous substances. 

Sell or Donate Unwanted Items

There are also ways to dispose of unwanted items without actually throwing them away, such as giving them to friends or family, selling them through a garage sale, or through online services such as Gumtree and eBay.

Skip Bin Hire & Rubbish Removal

If you’re keen to get your rubbish issues sorted, the quickest option is to contact a waste disposal professional. When you hire a skip bin, your unwanted goods are collected and taken to a waste transfer station. There, as much of your waste as possible will be reclaimed or recycled, and the rest will be safely disposed of. When comparing skip bin hire to alternatives , it’s both convenient and cost-effective. 

Wondering where skip bin rubbish goes? Find out here.

Book your skip today!

If you are wanting to dispose of your waste responsibly and sustainably, then hire a skip bin with Jim’s. We will recommend a suitable skip size and type based on your specific waste management and budget requirements. Get in touch with us today to discuss your skip hire needs. 

Related Questions

Can You Report Cars for Littering in Australia?

Yes, you can report cars you witness littering. If you see a car littering, record details like the licence plate, make and model of the vehicle and where you witnessed the rubbish being dumped. Report the incident to your state authorities or Crime Stoppers.