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Changes to Public Spaces and Unattended Property Laws Now in Effect

Lithgow City Council has advised of new legislation which aims to free public spaces from abandoned and unattended items and animals.

The new laws provide Councils, other public land managers and Police with stronger powers and penalties to ensure abandoned and unattended property is not left on footpaths, streets, parks, bushland, and waterways.

Under the new laws, a person responsible for private property left in public places such as shopping trolleys, unregistered and abandoned cars, unattended trailers, and stray stock can, face regulatory action if they do not remove that property within identified timeframes. This includes on-the-spot fines, higher court penalties, rapid seizure action and enforcement orders.

The new laws make it easier for Councils to store and dispose of unattended or abandoned items and animals, significantly reducing red tape and costs for local communities.

The changes also improve the ability of Council officers to track down owners of shopping trolleys and vehicles, reducing the need for impounding action.

Key Changes:

From 1 November 2022 to 30 April 2023 a grace period applies for certain offences relating to classes of property left unattended, including:

  • animals (typically stock animals)
  • shopping trolleys
  • personal recreational devices such as kayaks.

This grace period provides an opportunity for members of the public to become familiar with the new laws and make appropriate arrangements for the ongoing storage of their property. It also enables the owners of shopping trolleys additional time to comply with branding requirements.

During the grace period, warnings may be issued to the owner of the above classes of unattended property and, should the property be left unattended after 1 May 2023, a fine may be issued.

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