NSW councils will be given new powers to impound abandoned property, Minister for Local Government, Wendy Tuckerman has announced.
Minister Tuckerman said dumped shopping trolleys, vehicles and other unattended property will spend less time on streets and public spaces, and owners will be more accountable under the new rules set to come into effect under the new Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021on 1 November.
“Unattended property such as abandoned shopping trolleys is a big issue for councils, costing local government $17 million a year to deal with. The new rules put the onus back on owners where it belongs,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
“These new laws will not only save councils time and money, they’ll also ensure public spaces are safer, more accessible, and more enjoyable for our communities.”
The Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021 replaces the Impounding Act 1993. It places more responsibility on individuals and businesses to better manage their property within reasonable timeframes or face much stronger penalties.
“We’ve developed these new laws following extensive consultation with stakeholders including local government, industry, advocacy groups, state agencies and the community,” Mrs Tuckerman said.
“There will be a six-month grace period where warnings will be issued for unattended property in most cases, rather than fines. We’ve also listened to retailer concerns and introduced more flexibility around requirements to collect abandoned trolleys notified after-hours.”
The PSUP Act includes special powers for authorities to deal with stock animals wandering on public roads and causing a risk to safety, which was widely welcomed by councils during consultation. These provisions will commence at a later date.
The rules also apply to boat trailers, unregistered cars, trailers and caravans, share bikes, and personal watercraft.
For full details of the Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021, visit dpie.nsw.gov.au/unattendedproperty.