Irresponsible supermarket operators would face on-the-spot fines for failing to collect abandoned shopping trolleys from public places under sweeping reforms to NSW’s impounding laws.
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock introduced the Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Bill 2021 to Parliament last week to make our valuable public places safer and more enjoyable for communities across the State.
Mrs Hancock said the overhaul of the Impounding Act would see owners of shopping trolleys, unregistered cars and trailers and stray stock face harsh penalties if they do not remove them from public places within risk-based timeframes.
“These sensible new laws meet community expectations for safe, accessible and useable open spaces now and into the future,” Mrs Hancock said.
“Abandoned items such as shopping trolleys and unregistered vehicles are not only a safety hazard and nuisance but a blight on streets, footpaths, nature strips and other public places across the state.
“We are now future-proofing our laws to arm councils, police and other public land managers with strong powers to take swift and effective action and rid our open spaces of the scourge of abandoned and unattended items.
“These new laws resolve key concerns our communities have been raising for years and years. We are now putting the obligations firmly on property owners and others responsible for items left in public places to do the right thing and remove them within risk-based timeframes or face harsher penalties, more rapid impounding action and enforcement orders.”
Member for Oatley Mark Coure, who chaired two workshops regarding the reforms earlier this year, said the NSW Government is modernising the Impounding Act after carrying out the first comprehensive review since it was introduced 28 years ago.
“Items abandoned or left unattended in public places cause significant economic, environmental and social costs to our community,” Mr Coure said.
“In particular, shopping trolleys have continued to be a real concern to the community over time and it is clear that regulatory change is necessary.
“We recognise that supermarket operators are already implementing voluntary options such as trolley trackers, trolley collections, and coin deposit schemes and these measures are making a difference.
“It costs the NSW community $17 million a year to deal with abandoned and unattended shopping trolleys, vehicles and animals in public places. These reforms will cut these costs by 60 per cent saving at least $9.7 million a year for councils, other public land managers and the community.
“The changes have been developed following widespread consultation with councils, members of the public, industry/business groups, retailers, peak bodies and government agencies.”
PROPOSED MODEL FOR PENALTIES AND RISK-BASED TIMEFRAMES