Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2886 ..
The opposition does not support overreaching, as an Assembly, and we do not support attacking the supermarket industry. We do not support this political point scoring effort that will make no tangible difference. On issues like this, the government agency or council should take reasonable steps within the existing framework to address any actual or perceived problem. The opposition will be voting against the legislation.
MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (12.21): I thank the Liberal and Labor speakers for their contributions to the debate today. I am very pleased that Mr Stanhope has indicated that the government is going to come on board and support the bill. I am disappointed that Mr Coe has indicated that the Liberals will not even give in-principle support to the bill. As Mr Coe has made it abundantly clear, they do not support the idea of any regulation in this area. This is a mistake.
I think that both sides of politics acknowledge that trolleys are one of the problems of our urban life. I would ask the Liberal Party: is the problem of abandoned trolleys being adequately dealt with at present? I think the answer, as we would all agree, is that, no, it is not. Trolleys are all over the city, as Mr Stanhope said. They are so common that we almost do not even see them as we walk through our daily lives. You see them particularly on bike paths, you see them in creeks and you even see them up trees. We need another approach because what we have at present is not working.
Any member who has listened to their constituents will know that this is a real concern. Their constituents will have told them, and they may have found out for themselves, that reporting trolleys to supermarkets does not always lead to a swift response, or in fact any response. The trolleys remain in untidy and unsafe public areas for weeks. I have reported trolleys myself and did not have much luck in getting them collected. You find, in fact, that trolleys seem to breed. Once there is one there, they breed. They are a hazard for residents and commuters. I am aware, unfortunately, of Canberrans who have been seriously injured after crashing into lost trolleys which were blocking bike paths. They also damage the environment, attract other unsightly litter and are costly to the territory and, therefore—as Mr Stanhope pointed out—to territory ratepayers. Trolleys are frequently vandalised and when they are left out in public they often become a tool of vandalism.
I also agree with Mr Stanhope’s point, which we made earlier, that we have to be very careful when legislating in this regard to make sure that we take into account the social justice issues, given that some of the trolley litterers are people who have no other form of transport. But this is the sort of local problem that the Assembly is here to deal with. We are a council as well as a state government. This is the sort of bread and butter legislation which we need to look at because, if we do not, who is going to?
I was actually quite surprised to find that the Liberal Party refused to consider this bill even in principle. They obviously do not think trolleys are an issue worth looking at. It is not that they will have amendments and it is not that they have got a better idea; it is that they have got no idea. I wonder if the Liberal Party have backed down on their previous commitment to stopping litter, and dangerous litter—litter which damages the amenity of Canberra and causes injury and frustration to its citizens. I can remember Mr Coe talking about illegal dumping and littering in February last year. He said: