The Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021 and accompanying Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Regulation 2022 came into force from 1 November 2022, helping to protect valuable public spaces across the State from abandoned and unattended items and animals. A grace period till 30 April 2023 applied and ends soon.
The new Act repeals the Impounding Act 1993 following the first comprehensive review since it was introduced more than a quarter of a century ago.
The new laws provide councils, other public land managers and police with stronger powers and penalties to rid our footpaths, streets, parks, bushland and waterways of abandoned and unattended property.
This includes shopping trolleys, bikes, kayaks, dinghies, and all registered vehicles (cars, trailers, caravans, boat trailers) being removed from public spaces after being left unattended in the same place for 28 days. The onus is on the owner to ensure items/vehicles are not left unattended.
The grace period has now expired, and enforcement will commence from March 2023.
Council is currently developing website information and notifications. The Office of Local Government developed a broader education program during the transition period.
The intention is that the community remove belongings from public spaces and store them on private property or commercial storage, not relocate to another public space.