Cumberland City Council behind new abandoned trolley laws

Say goodbye to the abandoned shopping trolleys we’ve been pushing around for almost two years to de-litter our streetscapes.
25 Nov 2021 - General news

Say goodbye to the abandoned shopping trolleys we’ve been pushing around for almost two years to de-litter our streetscapes.

They could become a thing of the past following a welcome tightening of impounding laws.

Mayor Steve Christou said this was a real improvement on existing laws that made compliance almost impossible to enforce.

“Our Council spearheaded the crackdown on dumped trolleys when we forced major supermarkets to take action after we turned thousands of trolleys to scrap at our depots, but many more were picked up by the giant retailers.

“We started asking retailers to collect dumped trolleys after residents complained they were becoming a blight on our suburbs, so we had to take action over the growing number of abandoned shopping carts.

"Nobody wants to walk down their street and see abandoned trolleys, they make life difficult for the disabled by blocking footpaths and contribute to flash floods by clogging waterways. We take pride in our neighbourhoods and want to continue making Cumberland City a great place to live.”

Cumberland City Council’s hard-line approach has seen 4,940 trolleys impounded (as of 19 November 2021) since January this year.

The new Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Bill 2021 introduced into the NSW Parliament is a significant improvement over the nearly 30-year-old Impounding Act 1993.

The new legislation will put a three-hour collection time limit on trolleys, vehicles or other items causing a safety hazard, and a seven-day limit for others. Fines ranging from $660 to $13,750 could apply, depending on the nature, number and time the items remained on public property.

The widely used “trolley tracker” app has taken reports of more than three million abandoned trolleys since launching in 1994, which highlights the scope of the recovery problem and associated costs to councils and ultimately ratepayers.

Mayor Steve Christou said past efforts including deposit-based systems, geofencing, wheel locks and trolley trackers were unsuccessful, which is why local governments like Cumberland City have pushed hard for legislative change.

“Council had exhausted every option to try and resolve the shopping trolley issue directly with the retailers, however they weren’t always receptive or responsive to our appeals. If passed, the new laws will place the onus back on the retailers and enforce them to take full responsibility of their property and ensure their trolleys are not abandoned throughout our community.

“It’s a sensible move, and we’re grateful to the Government for the extensive consultation and other work it has done with councils and supermarkets to help resolve this problem.”