Transport Canberra and City Services

Changes to Shopping Trolley Legislation (Litter Act 2004)

It is an offence in the ACT to remove a trolley from a shopping centre or to use or leave a trolley outside a shopping centre precinct.

Abandoned shopping trolleys pollute urban areas, parks, lakes and waters, can injure pedestrians and cyclists and can be difficult and costly to retrieve.

Amendments to the Litter Act 2004 implement three key remedies to discourage abandonment and other improper uses of shopping trolleys in the ACT. These are:

  • the creation of offences against the improper use of shopping trolleys;
  • the provision of identification on shopping trolleys to assist their collection if abandoned; and
  • a proactive trolley collection scheme that allows the ACT Government to respond to a trolley problem in a specific area.

For more information about the amendments to the Litter Act 2004, please view the Frequently Asked Questions.

Summary of offences

Below is a summary of the offences under the new laws with their maximum penalties. One penalty unit equals $550 for a corporation and $110 for an individual.

Offence Maximum penalty
Failure to display a notice about taking a shopping trolley outside of a shopping centre precinct. On the spot fine: $200
Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units
Failure to display identification on your shopping trolley. On the spot fine: $20
Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units
Failure to keep a shopping trolley within your shopping centre precinct.
Please note: This offence does not apply if the retailer operates and maintains a trolley containment system at its premises or takes reasonable steps to ensure that a trolley is not removed from a shopping centre precinct. The offence also does not apply for the first 12 months to any retailer who owns less than 40 trolleys for the operation of their business.
60 penalty units
Failure to comply with a direction to return a shopping trolley. On the spot fine: $60
Maximum penalty: 10 penalty units
Removing, defacing or interfering with a removal notice attached to a shopping trolley. On the spot fine: $60
Maximum penalty: 5 penalty units

Advice for retailers about signage

Under section 24E of the Litter Act 2004, a retailer must place signage warning people against taking shopping trolleys outside a shopping centre precinct. The sign must be at or near the customer exits in the retailer's premises. It must also be able to be seen and easily read by customers.

The law specifies what words should be used on the sign and says that the retailer must also describe the retailer's shopping centre precinct on the notice. Retailers must use the following words:
"Under the Litter Act 2004 fines can apply for taking, using or leaving a shopping trolley outside this shopping centre precinct."

A shopping centre precinct means the area of the shopping centre, any car park provided for the use of customers and any public areas between the shopping centre and the car park including roads.

Retailers must describe the shopping centre precinct on the sign. This may describe the precinct by stating the bordering streets, providing a map or including other identifying information.

Example trolley sign. (PDF 67.3KB)

The ACT Government is committed to improving the accessibility of web content. To provide feedback or request an accessible version of a document please contact us or phone 13 22 81.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

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