The following summarises State and Territory protection of public health provisions that could be used in relation to the inappropriate disposal of N&S. It must be noted that while these provisions exist, laws may have to be enacted (eg. by local government), so that they actually have the specific powers to enforce compliance. It should also be noted that there are generally provisions contained in a broad range of Acts and Regulations that allow for the protection of public health. Some of these have been summarised here (eg. pollution prevention).

Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales
Northern Territory
South Australia
Western Australia

Australian Capital Territory

Public Health Act 1997

s18 Public health risk activities and procedures—declaration
  1. The Minister may, in writing, declare an activity that may result in the transmission of disease, or that may otherwise adversely affect the health of individuals in the context of the wider health of the community, to be a public health risk activity.
s113 Public health directions—issue
  1. Where the chief health officer has reasonable grounds for believing that it is necessary to prevent or alleviate a significant public health hazard, he or she may issue any or all of the following directions to a person for that purpose:

    1. a direction requiring a person to refrain from behaviour, or an activity, that significantly contributes, or that could so contribute, to the hazard;

New South Wales

Local Government Act 1993

Chapter 6 What are the service functions of councils?

Introduction. This Chapter confers on councils their service or non-regulatory functions. Examples of these functions include the provision, management or operation of:
  • public health services and facilities

  • environment conservation, protection and improvement services and facilities

  • waste removal, treatment and disposal services and facilities
This list of examples is not exhaustive.

The Public Health Act 1991 also contains provisions for the control/ management of public health, but it is unlikely that these would be used in relation to disposal of N&S.
Top of page

Northern Territory

Public Health Act

s7C. Chief Health Officer may require risk to public health to be rectified
  1. Where, in the opinion of the Chief Health Officer, an owner or occupier of land has committed an offence against this Act or the Regulations which, in the opinion of the Chief Health Officer, causes or may cause a risk to public health, the Chief Health Officer may, if he is of the opinion that the offence is continuing, by notice in writing, require the owner or occupier of the land to cause the risk to be removed within such time as he specifies in the notice.
s10. Regulations

The Administrator may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, prescribing all matters which by this Act are required or permitted to be prescribed, or which are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act, and in particular prescribing matters for or in relation to –

(b) the maintenance of health;

(c) sanitation;

(j) garbage, refuse, trade waste and night soil and the making of charges for and in relation to the collection and disposal of garbage, refuse, trade waste and night soil;


Health Act 1937

s9 of this Act can require local governments under the direction of the Governor in council undertake activities to ".... necessary for promoting and maintaining the health of the local government's area and its inhabitants".

ss77 – 92 provide powers for local governments to detect and control "nuisances".

South Australia

Public and Environmental Health Act 1987

s18. Discharge of wastes in a public place
  1. A person who discharges waste into a public place is guilty of an offence.

    Penalty: Division 3 fine

  2. A person who, without lawful permission, discharges waste into premises of which he or she is not an owner is guilty of an offence.

    Penalty: Division 3 fine
Top of page


Criminal Code Act 1924

Common nuisance defined (140).
  1. A common nuisance is an unlawful act or an omission to discharge a legal duty, such act or omission being one which endangers the lives, safety, health, property, or comfort of the public, or by which the public are obstructed in the exercise or enjoyment of any right common to all His Majesty's subjects.

  2. For the purposes of this section the comfort of the public shall be deemed to be affected by any pollution of the environment within the meaning of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994.
Common nuisances that are punishable (141).
  1. A person who commits any common nuisance which endangers the lives, safety, or health of the public, or which occasions injury to the person of any individual, is guilty of a crime. Charge: Creating a nuisance.

  2. A person who commits a common nuisance of a kind mentioned in subsection (1) and causes or suffers it to continue is guilty of a crime. Charge: Creating and continuing a nuisance.

  3. A person who commits a common nuisance of a kind not mentioned in subsection (1) and causes or suffers it to continue is guilty of a crime. Charge: Continuing a nuisance.

  4. A person guilty of a crime under subsection (3) is not liable to be punished otherwise than as provided in chapter XLIIA.


Health Act 1958

s29A. Functions of councils

The function of every council under this Act is to seek to prevent diseases, prolong life and promote public health through organised programs including the prevention and control of—

(a) environmental health dangers; and

(b) diseases; and

(h) ensuring that the municipal district is maintained in a clean and sanitary condition
Top of page

Western Australia

Health Act 1911

15. Power of Executive Director, Public Health to act in emergencies

1. In any emergency or necessity, of the existence of which emergency or necessity the Executive Director, Public Health shall be sole and final judge, the Executive Director, Public Health may

(b) Make any regulations for the abatement and prevention of nuisances, for the protection from pollution of water used for domestic purposes, and for securing the healthfulness of persons collected in any encampment or otherwise;

(c) Make such other regulations as he may deem necessary to cope with the emergency or necessity.(c) Make such other regulations as he may deem necessary to cope with the emergency or necessity.