Western Sydney councils unite to tackle dumped shopping trolleys

Councils across Western Sydney have joined together to demand the State Government help them get abandoned shopping trolleys off their streets.

More than 1000 trolleys have been collected from Western Sydney streets in two massive round-ups.

Yesterday Liverpool City Council, Fairfield City Council, Penrith City Council and Cumberland City Council rounded up 550 shopping trolleys as years of frustration over dumped trolleys came to a head.

The councils are calling for the State Government to amend the Impounding Act 1993 to allow councils to fine retailers for abandoned shopping trolleys.

“When shared bicycles became a problem in Sydney’s east, the State Government acted within months to fix the problem,” Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said. “Sydney’s west has been plagued by abandoned shopping trolleys for years and we’ve had enough.

“Present legislation allows us to only fine customers who abandon trolleys in public places. Apart from being impractical, this doesn’t address the real issue – retailers refusing to control their trolleys.

“The Impounding Act was amended last year to allow operators of share bicycle schemes to be fined for their abandoned bicycles. It worked – and we believe making a similar change will work just as well for shopping trolleys.

“Our residents have had enough of their streets, parks and waterways being clogged with dumped trolleys. Nothing will change until retailers are given a powerful financial incentive to stop trolleys from leaving their shopping centres.”

Liverpool City Council rounded up 300 trolleys from around its local government area yesterday, following on from the 450 collected during a previous round-up in June.

Some of the previously collected trolleys were crushed yesterday by a Council loader.

“We told the owners of these trolleys where they could be collected but the reality is they are not interested in doing so,” Mayor Waller said. “It seems it is cheaper for retailers to just buy more new trolleys rather than collect their old abandoned ones. This only makes the problem worse.

“We have no alternative other than to destroy trolleys if retailers won’t take them back. We don’t want trolleys cluttering our streets or Council facilities.”

The Western Sydney councils have written to the Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock, urging her to introduce amendments to the Impounding Act 1993.

Supporting comments from Western Sydney councils

Mayor of Penrith, Cr Ross Fowler:

“Our local communities are fed up with trolleys being dumped in their streets, parks and waterways.

“There is a cost to retailers to replace diminishing stocks of trolleys and there is a cost to Councils as we keep the amenity of the suburbs. Both of those costs could be significantly reduced with a greater emphasis by retailers in restricting the movement of wayward shopping trolleys.”

Mayor of Fairfield, Cr Frank Carbone:

“This was a focused blitz by local councils to get trolleys off the streets, out of our waterways and back where they belong.

“Councils need to have the power to keep our city clean by enforcing regulation and fining the owners of dumped and discarded trolleys in our city. We also need to impose conditions on supermarkets and retailers to have a trolley deposit and return scheme so that trolleys are returned and kept off our streets and out of our waterways.”

Mayor of Cumberland, Cr Steve Christou:

“Trolleys dumped on a nature strip or on public land are just an eyesore and this shouldn’t be a problem for us. It’s time for the State Government to come to the table and help us deal with this issue if retailers won’t fulfil their obligations for trolley collection.”

Mayor of Camden, Cr Theresa Fedeli:

“This campaign is a terrific way to ensure our beautiful areas remain just that – beautiful.

“No one likes the look of dumped trolleys in their neighbourhood and, if we’re not careful, they really add up. I am fully supportive of coming together and doing something about it.”