What's On

Illegal Dumping

What is illegal dumping? 

Illegal dumping is the depositing – dumping, tipping or otherwise – of waste larger than litter onto land or into water. Illegal dumping varies from small bags of rubbish in an urban environment to larger scale dumping of waste materials in isolated areas such as bushland. 

If you would like more information, read these brochures on Illegal Dumping, Asbestos Waste Landfill Waste, Development Waste and Illegal Transport of Waste.

The impacts of illegal dumping

The illegal dumping of waste in public reserves, bushland areas, vacant lots and roadside verges creates a major problem for our community including:

  • pollution
  • poor visual amenity
  • lowered community pride
  • increased fire risk
  • reduced property values
  • the potential to attract other illegal dumping and antisocial behaviour leading to a state of degradation of your local neighbourhood
  • increased health and safety hazard
  • increased risk of weeds and pests
  • financial costs to Council and other government agencies which are ultimately passed onto residents, ratepayers and the community as a whole. 

RID Squads

The Hunter/Central Coast Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) squad was established in 2014 to reduce the costs of illegal dumping and build capacity within the region. The Hunter/Central Coast RID Squad covers a wide geographical area including Cessnock local government area and works with other public land managers in the region to combat illegal dumping. The Squad uses the latest surveillance techniques to find (and penalise) the culprits of illegal dumping.

Reporting Illegal Dumping

Illegal dumping is a problem that impacts everyone in the community and if seen, should be reported immediately.

If you suspect someone is illegally dumping report it on 131 555 or

Useful information to supply when reporting includes: a description of the person, the time of day and registration, make and model of the car. Fines apply for illegal dumping.

On the spot fines can be up to $4000 for individuals or up to $8000 for companies. If you are required to attend Local Court the penalty may be up to $110,000!! Repeat offenders may also face a jail sentence.

Other ways you can help

Besides reporting illegal dumping, there are a few things you can do to help combat the problem:  

  • Take your waste to the right place
  • when someone disposes of waste on your behalf, always get proof of disposal i.e. tip dockets form your contractor. It is important to know that if a contractor illegally dumps your waste, you are also liable
  • take your waste to the right place. The Cessnock Waste Management Centre is open 7 days a week from 8.45am to 4.30pm (only closed on Christmas Day, Good Friday and Cessnock City Council Picnic Day)    
  • know what is being brought onto your land. Free fill is rarely clean fill. 

Illegal Dumping on Charities 

In an effort to reduce illegal dumping on charity operations we have teamed up with local charities to tackle the issue and launched an educational campaign.  Our local charities face dumping on a daily basis. But it isn’t just dumping that is a problem to charities. The Cessnock community members are necessarily ‘giving’ but we aren’t good at ‘giving good’. The quantity is there but not the quality. A lot of the material, clothing and nick-nacks that are given to local charities are not of saleable quality. About 10% of what is given ends up for sale in the shop! Whilst charities work hard to find alternatives, such as sending items overseas, the reality is many items have to be disposed of in landfill. The cost of disposal falls on local charities.  This has a huge impact. Illegal dumping and inappropriate donations limit the amount of welfare charities can do and places a huge strain on their workers and volunteers who perform such an important community role. The campaign aims to educate people about donating.  It will be visible in print, social media and feature on the side of one of our local garbage trucks.   If you see anyone dumping on a charity, report it. It’s easy to do by simply calling 131 555 or jump online and report it at

Better not mess with Cessnock

Illegal dumping is a huge problem in the Cessnock LGA, with 377 incidents recorded last year alone. In an effort to combat this problem, we have teamed up with a few local personalities to launch a 'Better not mess with Cessnock' campaign. Let's work together to ensure our region remains beautiful for locals and visitors alike! 

This year-long promotion was made possible with a $102,118 Illegal Dumping, Clean up and Prevention grant as part of the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).