As always, the Stanhope government is attacking the big issues, this time by being tough on abandoned shopping trolleys.
According to the SMH online, the ACT government plans to introduce tougher laws requiring retailers to retrieve dumped shopping trolleys or face penalties. Retailers will be forced to clearly mark trolleys so they can be identified by government officials.
Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said there was little incentive for retailers to collect and dispose of dumped trolleys in a responsible manner.
Personally, if I were a shop owner and I received a fine from the ACT government, I’d have no option but to pass it on to my consumers. I might even get rid of trolleys if I were a small operator, or use those incredibly annoying pay for a trolley things.
In addition, most of these abandoned shopping trolleys are from people without cars who wheel the things incredible distances. These people are generally some of the poorer in our society and probably can’t afford cars. And as we know, the buses are pretty useless these days in the suburbs.
The issue is a tricky one. Firstly, I agree that shopping trolleys wandering the streets late at night are an eyesore and should be rounded up. However, I don’t think shopkeepers should foot the bill for people taking, and NOT returning them. (Admittedly big operators like Coles and Woolies could easily afford this)
At present rangers locate the trolleys and then remove them which is what they should do as it is our taxes that are paying for the rangers, and the service. However, the current government slashed ranger services and seem to think that everything in this town, except for bizarre statues and works of art, should be user pays.
An interesting dilemma. And maybe Stanhope is right about penalising the shopowners. However, it does appear to me that once again Stanhope is not addressing the real issue, which is people flogging the things in the first place. maybe there should be a fine for taking a shopping trolley further than 200 metres from a store?