Eden-Monaro election candidates flouting strict NSW signage laws

Political parties flouting NSW's strict electoral laws are forcing the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council to rip out election signs.

A council spokesman said about 100 of the signs had been removed by council rangers in the previous few weeks.

Eden-Monaro electoral signs promoting Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs and Labor candidate Mike Kelly (inset). The signs, located in Queanbeyan, exceed the allowed size for electoral signage. Pictures: Jamila Toderas

Eden-Monaro electoral signs promoting Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs and Labor candidate Mike Kelly (inset). The signs, located in Queanbeyan, exceed the allowed size for electoral signage. Pictures: Jamila Toderas

The federal election will take place next Saturday, May 18.

The spokesman said the council did not keep a record of which candidates or political parties the signs belonged to.

NSW laws regarding election signs are significantly stricter than those in the ACT.

An ACT government spokesman confirmed no signs had been taken down by city rangers in the ACT during the campaign period.

In NSW, among other restrictions, election signs may not be erected on public land and any sign greater than 0.8 square metres must have been approved through a development application.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Greens councillor Peter Marshall criticised parties with illegal signs.

"The candidates and parties know [the laws], but are showing contempt for the law," Cr Marshall wrote on Facebook.

While the exact figures of which parties have erected illegal signs are not known, the Sunday Canberra Times has seen potentially non-compliant signs spruiking the two major parties.

Liberal candidate Fiona Kotvojs had signs attached to the Brakeworx business in Queanbeyan East, on Captains Flat Road in Carwoola and along the Kings Highway approaching Bungendore, among other places.

While these were on private land, they did not comply with size regulations.

The incumbent member for Eden-Monaro, Labor's Mike Kelly, had a sign that was also above 0.8 square metres under the railway bridge at Yass Road.

Ms Kotvojs confirmed the council had been in touch with her office about signs that had been removed.

She said she had collected those signs and understood other candidates had too. She promised to investigate with her team and property owners the issue of oversized signs on private properties.

A Labor spokesman said Dr Kelly's office had not been contacted by the council about any removed signs, but did not address questions about the Yass Road sign's legality.

He criticised the Liberal Party for having erected signs around Queanbeyan and Bungendore on public land.

"We understand that council rangers were forced to remove these signs which was a waste of ratepayers' dollars," he said.

The council spokesman said most of the collected signs came from Bungendore and around the Queanbeyan CBD.

Candidates and parties were given an opportunity to collect the signs, he said, and were told any signs in breach of legislation going forward would attract a $200 littering fine per sign and a $220 impounding fee if they wish to re-collect them.

He said responsibility for oversized signs on private land also fell to the council if they lacked development approval.

However, he said action would only be taken if a complaint was received.

The council will not enter private land to remove signs but will engage with landowners to have signs removed.