War waged on stray shopping trolleys

reclaim impounded shopping trolleys

The days of abandoned shopping trolleys are numbered.

Councils want the power to charge retailers $75 to reclaim impounded shopping trolleys and, if they are not claimed, to destroy them.

The Local Government Association’s annual meeting yesterday called on the State Government to pass new laws to get abandoned shopping trolleys off the streets.

The meeting, in Mudgee, also called on the Government to make coin deposits on shopping trolleys compulsory, with electronic locks to stop them being taken beyond shopping centre carparks. Patrick Nuhlen-Schulte, a spokesman for the Local Government minister, Kerry Hickey, said the minister would consider the plan.

A Blacktown councillor, Kathie Collins, said coin deposit trolleys were used by Franklins and Aldi and encouraged people to return their trolleys.

She said abandoned shopping trolleys were a costly problem for councils. “We have a lot of emerging communities that don’t know what they should do with the trolleys, they don’t have any transport so they take them out of the supermarket and don’t take them back.”

Lyn Hall, the project manager at Trolley Tracker, a company that monitors trolleys, said big shopping centres generated about 200 stray trolleys a day.

The company received about 1000 calls a week about abandoned trolleys, and retailers paid $50million a year for their collection and replacement.

Waverley Council’s deputy mayor, George Newhouse, said councils needed the new laws because it was illegal to charge shopkeepers to reclaim trolleys.

In 2000 Waverley lost a court case against Coles after it charged the supermarket $110 to get back impounded trolleys. At the time, Waverley had been collecting up to 12 trolleys a day, Mr Newhouse said.

The council now tags trolleys and gives shop owners up to 48 hours to collect them before they are impounded.

However, the Australian Retailers Association’s executive director, Duncan Shaw, said the plan to charge shopkeepers to get back trolleys was “appalling”.

“These trolleys don’t get there by themselves, so why don’t you fine the consumers who take them out?”

The Local Government Association has also condemned moves to charge those handing out free newspapers and pamphlets on city streets.

At the conference, the Opposition Leader, Peter Debnam, said he would review local government legislation if elected, but ruled out an end to rate capping.


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