Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2885 ..
The government’s position is that we are prepared to agree in principle today. We would wish to see debate on the bill adjourned at the in-principle stage so that we can work further with the Greens and, indeed, with the Assembly on refining the proposal. We believe that it does need some refinement and some change. I understand that Ms Le Couteur has certainly indicated that she is very open and willing to give active consideration to amendments and to other suggestions. We are willing to engage with Ms Le Couteur most particularly and with the Assembly in relation to that.
The government will support this bill in principle today. We would then propose that it be adjourned. I understand Ms Le Couteur is agreeable to that. I would welcome the opportunity of finalising or formalising with Ms Le Couteur a proposal to perhaps more broadly engage the community in a response to the issue.
MR COE (Ginninderra) (12.18): The Litter (Shopping Trolleys) Amendment Bill 2010 is a classic example of over-legislation. Either the legislation will have no impact because it is too difficult to enforce or it will unfairly hurt the hardworking business men and women of Canberra. Whilst a trolley in a park or by the side of the road affects our amenity, I have serious concerns about whether this Assembly passing legislation will make such a problem less likely. Instead, this legislation unfairly pushes the blame and responsibility onto retailers rather than the person who littered or, worse, the person who stole the trolley.
Ms Le Couteur may say that small businesses will be exempt, and the example of a store with 25 trolleys or fewer is a suggested possible threshold. However, I contest that many small retailers would have more than 25 trolleys and they would be unfairly hurt. This legislation is much more about political point scoring for the Greens rather than a genuine attempt to tackle an actual or perceived problem.
Is a drunk person who takes a friend for a ride in a trolley less likely to do so after this legislation? Is a person who walks back to their apartment with a shopping trolley without returning it less likely to do so after this legislation is passed? Is a person who steals a trolley and hauls it up a tree or onto a roof less likely to do so after this legislation is passed? The chances of catching someone leaving a trolley in the wrong place, I would suggest, is extremely slim. Who is going to enforce this? Are we going to ask TAMS officers to do this? The bill mentions that the police could do it.
If the chances of catching someone are next to nil, are we going to monitor CCTV or even dust a shopping trolley for fingerprints? I would imagine there would be very many sets of fingerprints on the average shopping trolley handle. This bill is hot air. If I may use a shopping trolley metaphor, this bill is a trolley with a dodgy wheel that might look the part but is in fact dysfunctional.
The only people that will be easily caught out by this legislation are the retailers. This is yet another attack on the supermarket industry. Now we have the ALP and the Greens hitting at the industry from multiple angles. That is a seemingly calculated and coordinated attack on an industry which we all depend on and which provides employment to thousands of Canberrans.