Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 February 2010) . . Page.. 560 ..
Many public areas in our cities accumulate trolleys. This is particularly true in areas away from roads—in parks, on walking and bike paths, in the bush and under bridges, for example. They are a hazard to residents and commuters. For example, some Canberrans have been seriously injured while riding their bikes on bicycle paths and crashing into abandoned trolleys.
The problems become worse the longer a trolley is left in a public place. Trolleys in public places are, unfortunately, a catalyst for vandalism or for general dumping of rubbish. It is quite common to see abandoned trolleys surrounded by other litter. This is bad for the local environment, for local amenity, and it decreases the liveability of our city.
Trolleys themselves are frequently vandalised or used as a tool for vandalism. One constituent has complained to me, for example, that abandoned trolleys are often rammed into his fence, leading to expensive repairs being needed. Unfortunately, trolleys often end their life in Canberra’s waterways. This can cause damage or erosion, block water flow and also leach pollutants into the water. Occasionally trolleys end up lodged in trees. I have seen some rather wonderful photos of them. This presents a danger to people walking nearby as well as, unfortunately, damaging the trees and disrupting the wildlife that may be living in the trees.
The existing regime we have for regulating trolleys is clearly inadequate. Residents tell me that trolleys remain in public places for weeks or even months. This is so, even after repeated calls to the retail managers. A number of years ago, TAMS surveyed trolleys in Belconnen and observed that one-fifth of them remained uncollected after two days. I have observed this myself. I have also personally informed Trolley Tracker, which is a third party contractor that passes on information to retailers, of the location of trolleys. Weeks later, the trolleys still had not been collected.
I look forward to support from the government for this bill. I am aware that the government has listed abandoned trolleys as an issue on its autumn sitting program. I am happy to hear this but, unfortunately, I have heard it a number of times before. At the beginning of 2009, the government also said abandoned trolleys were an issue that it would address during the 2009 autumn sitting program. But nothing happened. Back in 2008, the government promised to amend the law to combat trolley dumping. Nothing has happened since then either. It is now over two years since the government first announced that it intended to do something about this problem.
As the Greens spokesperson for territory and municipal services, I thought it was important to do something about this problem and that the appropriate thing to do was to introduce the legislation that I am introducing today. I began this process with consultation with retailers on this issue in September last year. I wrote to retailers, as well as meeting with a number of them, requesting comments and advice on this issue. MLAs may also remember that I announced to the media last year that I was considering legislation essentially the same as the bill I am introducing now. I have also sent, yesterday, a copy of the bill to the retailers I was discussing this with.
The bill takes a fairly straightforward approach to the problem. I expect support for this approach, especially given that Mr Stanhope has, in effect, already endorsed it. In