Abandoned and wrecked trolleys are frequently pulled out of drains, but Ballina council is keen to end the problem.
Abandoned and wrecked trolleys are frequently pulled out of drains, but Ballina council is keen to end the problem. Jacklyn Wagner

Council pushes a trolley fix

THE DAYS are numbered for Ballina’s “out of control” shopping trolleys, with the council getting even tougher on the issue.

It is now calling for help from the State Government.

In the past the council has written to local supermarkets asking them to install a coin deposit system, similar to the one used by Aldi stores.

Woolworths in River St and Coles stores at Alstonville and Ballina have brought in some new trolleys.

At last week’s meeting, Regulatory Services staff presented a report to councillors to update them on the trolley situation.

“Council has been attempting to minimise the problem of abandoned shopping trolleys,” the report states.

“It has for some time been reviewing options to address the problem and has established and maintained dialogue with the retailers.”

In August last year, the council resolved to approach the Local Government and Shires Association to ask the Government to legislate and impose fines of $1000 or more for abandoning shopping trolleys in public places.

The LGSA said many councils experienced similar problems.

“There have been many conference resolutions during the past decade seeking higher penalties for the offence of abandoning a shopping trolley, and also calling for a compulsory introduction of coin deposit/refund systems,” the association’s policy director, Noel Baum, wrote to the council. He said there were ongoing negotiations between the LGSA and Trolley Services Australia about a review of the Code of Practice for councils and supermarkets.

But it seems Ballina council wants to deal with the problem once and for all.

Staff have continued to meet with supermarket representatives, and some retailers have agreed to buy new signs from the council which say “No Shopping Trolleys Beyond This Point”, complete with a picture of a trolley with a big, red cross through it.

And the council will write to Local Government Minister and Ballina MP Don Page, who is responsible for the Impounding Act 1993. The Act should be reviewed, according to council.

“This legislation could incorporate requirements to require the retailers to install containment systems and provide more efficient arrangements for dealing with abandoned items,” the council report states.

But Cr Jeff Johnson said it was an “unusual step” for the council to think it could force changes in the legislation to include shopping trolleys.

“I find it almost laughable that we are going to write to the Minister,” he said at last week’s meeting.

Instead he said the council should keep pushing the supermarkets to install coin deposit systems: “It has been proven to work.”

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