NSW legislation change putting pressure on Council and ratepayers
Published on 18 January 2023
Burwood Council has raised concerns following the repeal of the NSW Impounding Act 1993, which was recently replaced by the Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021 on 1 December 2022.
The new Act details markedly changed regulations for the management of abandoned property. Council understands that the intention of the new law, endorsed by the NSW Government, is to enable stronger enforcement powers for local authorities.
However, in reality the new legislation will reduce Council’s capacity to directly impound unattended items, in turn reducing the incentive for owners to proactively seek and collect these items.
The new legislation is expected to impact the management of abandoned shopping trolleys most significantly, the most commonly impounded item in the Burwood Local Government Area (LGA) with the largest effect on our streets and community.
Mayor John Faker was disappointed to learn of the changes. “I take great pride in our area, the streetscapes and parks that Council and our residents take such care to maintain,” said Mayor Faker.
“These legislative changes will significantly reduce collection response times and put the onus on ratepayers and Council staff to manage abandoned shopping trolleys, which are not only an eyesore but often hazardous and obstructive.”
In response to previous legislation, Burwood Council had proactively developed a robust impounding, notification and administration fee process for abandoned shopping trolleys, with positive results evidenced across our community.
Under the new Act, Council staff are no longer permitted to impound abandoned items without giving considerable notice, even when items pose a danger or obstacle.
Further to this, the new regulations specify that trolley owners are now exempt from all fines related to impounding for six months from commencement of the legislation, with impacts already evidenced across our LGA as trolleys sprawl across our streets.
“My concern is that, without a strong incentive to collect shopping trolleys, the cost for patrolling and finding trolleys will be pushed from the organisations responsible onto Council and our ratepayers,” said Mayor Faker.
“I strongly encourage the NSW Government to consider the impact of this new legislation on our community and make necessary adjustments.”