Abandoned trolley and vehicle owners to pay costs with new Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Bill

Abandoned trolley in Nambucca Heads.


WHO hasn’t sighed over the sight of a trolley left stranded, positioned oddly leaning against the side of a telegraph pole in one of the back streets of Nambucca Valley?

Or lying forlornly, pushed over and forgotten on the edge of a river bank?

The lonely car, left unused and unloved…resting heavily on deflated tyres.

Nambucca Valley Councillor Sue Jenvey, discussing the issue with News Of The Area, said, “I used to see old shopping trolleys in the river. “

“They would be there for months.

“You’re walking along in a beautiful setting, and it was always jarring to see these sad pieces of urban decay.

“It’s much better to remove these iconic pieces of litter from our environment.

“It makes sense to shoot the responsibility for this back to their places of origin.”

Unattended property collection, in particular abandoned cars, are a major expense for Councils.

A new Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Bill 2021 has been introduced into the NSW Parliament.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said this Bill is an improvement on the previous laws that made the enforcement of compliance almost impossible.

“These abandoned trolleys pose a very real risk to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, while others clog our local waterways,” said Clr Scott.

“The widely used ‘trolley tracker’ app has taken reports of more than three million abandoned trolleys since it was launched, so that gives an idea of the scope of the recovery problem, and of the cost to councils and ratepayers.”

In the new rules there will be a three-hour collection time limit on trolleys, vehicles or items that cause a safety hazard, and seven-day limit for other items.

Fines will be applied to items left over the time limit.

“Essentially these new rules put the onus right back on the owners to ensure their property is not abandoned “throughout our communities.

“They’ll need to remove these items – which go beyond shopping trolleys to include items such as unregistered vehicles – within an appropriate time frame or face harsher penalties, more rapid impounding action and enforcement orders,” Clr Scott said.

Police will also benefit from the legislation as it will allow them to enter an abandoned vehicle and identify its owner, who will then be charged fees for recovery and possible storage of the item.

Mr Daniel Walsh, Manager of Development and Environment at Nambucca Valley Council, informed News Of The Area that abandoned trolleys are not a major issue in the Valley.

“Standard process is to contact the relevant shop and request them to remove them.

“Usually they are removed on request.”

Council receives more complaints about abandoned vehicles, Mr Walsh said.

“Council spends approximately $5000 each year impounding abandoned vehicles.

“In addition to this, there is substantial staff time spent on impounding vehicles which takes them away from undertaking other functions of Council.

“It is extremely rare for an owner to claim their vehicle.

“Generally Council’s only avenue to recoup some of the costs associated with impounding vehicles is through issuing fines to the owners.

“Unfortunately not all owners of vehicles can be identified.”



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