Bill Posters

Council actively investigates the placement of bill posters on electricity poles, telegraph poles, hoardings around buildings and many other locations within the Newcastle area. Some people think affixing paper bill posters to structures is still an effective way of promoting an event or communicating a message to the public.

The reality is bill posters are only noticed by a small amount of people, they are quickly covered over by other posters, they degrade when wet or ripped off and can cause environmental impacts to where we live.

Why are bill posters a problem?

Damage to the environment

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.

Most bill posters are never removed by the person/s who erect them and the responsibility for removing the posters and  the collection of litter associated with the posters degrading primarily falls to Council or those conscious about the effects upon the environment.

Cost of clean up of litter, and bill poster removal

Council allocates and lot of time and money to litter clean up and bill poster removal. Other public utilities such as the RTA and Energy Australia, and private landowners also spend time and money dealing with this issue.

Failure for posters to be removed

Promoters or people erecting posters, fail to remove them once an event has occurred the posters remain in place, commence to degrade and litter the footpath and streets OR other posters are erected over the top of the older posters.

Risks to public safety

Where bill posters are located in public places such as on roadsides, they can create a distraction to drivers. In some cases, bill posters are placed over other important information, such as directional signs and road safety information.

Proliferation of unauthorised advertising

If not dealt with quickly, bill posters can be perceived by the community as a legitimate form of advertising which can lead to more bill posters being erected. Bill posters are not the exclusive domain of or a way to advertise music events. Advertising a garage sale or other event when the advertising is printed on paper, cardboard or another degradable material, constitute the same action and can have the same impacts.

Aesthetic impact

Bill posters make an area unsightly, particularly as the posters begin to degrade and become litter. Council is keen to keep Newcastle’s streets clean, and removing bill posters is part of that process.

What is Council doing about bill posters?

1. Proactive patrols

Council’s Regulatory Services Team responds to proactively investigates the placement of bill posters in public places.

2. Responding to customer requests for action

Council’s Regulatory Services Team responds to customer requests regarding bill posters.

4. Information to venues and promoters

Council has put entertainment venues on notice that they will be subject to investigation and possible fines where their venue is promoted in bill posters and they are found to have aided or abetted the placement of the posters.

5. Provision of approved bill poster sites

Council has designated bill poster poles at the corner of Maitland Road and Mary Street Islington where posters can be lawfully displayed.

What powers does Council have to deal with bill posters?

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act provide council with powers to investigate the illegal placement of bill posters, and take action against offenders.

What specific actions can Council require of offenders?

When Council identifies the persons responsible for a bill poster incident, the following actions can be taken:

  • Serve notices requiring information and or records about the incident, including identifying all the people involved
  • Require action to remove bill posters and clean up any litter created by their degradation
  • Issuing fines for placing the posters
  • Issuing fines for failing to comply with Council notices, order or directions
  • Requiring offenders to pay Council’s costs in removing posters
  • Prosecuting offenders in Court.
A number of offences can be committed when bill posters are affixed to structures including:
  • Development without Consent (Unauthorised erection of advertising). Minimum fines of $1,500.00 for an individual or $3,000.00 for a Corporation can be issued
  • Interfere with Electricity Works (Attaching posters to electricity poles) . Fines of $1100.00 can be issued
  • Littering - Minimum fine of $250.00
  • Water Pollution - Minimum fine of $4,000.00

What can I do to report illegal bill posters?

Phone Council on 02 4974 2000

Complete an Online Customer Request Form


What can I do to lawfully promote my event?

Council recommends event promotion by using:

  • Newspaper advertising
  • Websites
  • Noticeboards
  • The inside of shop windows with the shop owner’s approval
  • Council’s approved bill poster poles
  • Approved signs at the event venue.

Require more information

If you require further information about displaying bill posters and the relevant laws, contact Council's Customer Enquiry Centre on 02 4974 2000.