Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:41): I rise to make a contribution to the Local Nuisance and Litter Control (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2024. I note that two of the main amendments in this bill are impacting on the management of shopping trolleys, and the installation of air conditioners and exterior lights. I might comment on the exterior lights and air conditioners in the first instance. Urbanisation: from a country member and someone who lives far too close to a highway—it is 800 metres—I can deal with concrete for so long, but then I need to go home.

I think we have to worry about some of the impacts of this bill. I understand what it is trying to do, but certainly in urban areas and towns—towns like Murray Bridge, Gawler, Mount Barker—the infill that is happening now is not the old quarter acre block. Developers are maximising the potential of housing, and what we are seeing more and more, and I see it—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Sorry to interrupt. Are you the lead speaker for the opposition?



Mr PEDERICK: What happens now is that, instead of having the quarter acre block, you get these generally four-bedroom houses still and they are built end on and they are jammed up against each other. My sister lives in Gawler in one of them, out in Gawler East. There is no yard, and a lot of people do not want a yard because they are too busy to deal with it, but it certainly becomes very congested housing. In these areas where we are seeing more infill, whether it is town infill or urban infill, essentially we are going to have more people living on top of each other. In Mount Barker, on the developments as you follow up on the Wistow road towards Strathalbyn you can just go from roof to roof—you would not need a ladder to go up each one–and clean each other's gutter out. In fact, on the hill slopes it almost looks like the eaves are overlapping each other.

The point I am getting to is that, with a bill around the noise of air conditioners, people's houses—even in an urban environment, and I know that they have always been pretty close—are getting closer. Some people would say it is nearly impossible. Well, it is possible, as I just described. We have to have a bit of reality. The beauty of living in the country is that you do not have to worry about this.

For instance, I have a 1200-watt sound system at home, and my two boys believe in only two volumes: nothing or flat out. The beauty of living in the country is that you do not upset anyone. It is loud. We lent it out to a couple of their friends for their 21st. I got home from one a couple of years ago and I could not hear the song but from three kilometres away I could hear it thumping from the shearing shed. That still did not bother anyone. Obviously, you are not going to have that level of sound in an urban environment because it would be clamped down, and I understand that.

In the operation of air conditioners, I know there is better engineering and better operation techniques going into them so that they can keep them quieter. They are better than the old rattlers from years ago, especially the old evaporatives and that sort of thing, but they still make noise. We have to be pretty careful about how we regulate this because people are used to being comfortable, they are used to the nice things in life, if they can afford to switch their reverse-cycle air conditioner on. They want to be comfortable. It is just how people are.

As I said, there is a lot of urban infill. We see the Greater Adelaide Regional Plan coming up. Certainly in my community, I am happy to work with the government on the plans that are in place to expand Murray Bridge. There is the opportunity for many thousands of blocks, and developers are literally knocking down the doors to get in there and utilise what will be a great expansion, managed appropriately, between Murray Bridge and Callington. A lot of work needs to be done before all of that happens, but we will progress that and, as I said, work on getting the right outcomes from the start.

Then you get exterior lights as well. Nowadays, you have a lot of lights on the outside of houses. I have one on my farmhouse at Coomandook that is quite handy. You walk up to the door and a couple of lights come on, and you find your way to unlock the door and that sort of thing. It is very handy. These days, with phones with lights on them, you can put that in your pocket and light your way up the path as you leave the garage. You probably do not have to do that so much in an urban environment, but it does help get you there. Certainly in the city or towns there are streetlights, but again there would have to be some serious looks at how lights are angled, whether it is impacting on someone and that kind of thing. Sometimes, it is just in the eye of the beholder, whether they are affronted by the light or not.

I remember in my first term in this place, between 2006 to 2010, working with Terramin and the Strathalbyn lead mine, that the lights were a bit bright and shining out from the mine site more than they had to be. I went to the minister, the Hon. Paul Holloway, and said, 'Can we tone this down a bit?' We managed to get a great outcome that suited the community better. It still suited the mine site for their 24-hour mining program and milling program, and that is what can happen. That is far better than just being the heavy hand of regulation and coming in and going, bang, 'You're not complying with something', but working with authorities to get a mutual outcome that benefits not just the miner but the whole community.

Then we get to shopping trolleys. We have not had a lot of complaint from constituents mainly from Murray Bridge in regard to shopping trolleys, but we have had a few. One of the subjects of contention when I met with the local council recently was about shopping trolleys and how we manage that issue. I think it is just too simple. I do a lot of my shopping at Drakes. I do shop at all the others—Coles, Woolworths and Aldi at times—and we have a great range. The IGA is in town as well. I do not think it is that hard to put the shopping trolleys back in their little corral and move on.

We also have a Big W and a Woolworths, and a bit of a shopping mall in Murray Bridge that has been there for what must be getting close to 15 years. Instead of parking in some of the very extensive parking underneath, some people decide to go across the road next to the newsagent. There is a new bargain shop across the road that was the old Mitre 10. People decide to go across the road, and it is simpler for them to abandon their trolleys. That is not good enough, especially for the newsagent, the Pergolini family—a great operator for many years in the Murray Bridge area—as they have to deal with it. So there has to be some way of making sure these trolleys go back.

Some in the retail sector do not think it should be their body that will face charges or offences and penalties. They think it should be a bit like a theft or an abandonment thing where you can get hold of the individual. I do not think it is not a very easy policy to implement, whichever way it goes, and I know we will be looking at this in committee to go through some of the projected outcomes of where this legislation is going.

In regard to the bill, as we have heard already we had quite a bit of public consultation last year, and the EPA had done a report previously as well. That included recommendations on what to do with the act to get better outcomes. Some principal issues in this bill include the management of shopping trolleys, the installation of air conditioners and exterior lights.

In regard to the installation of air conditioners and external lights, the bill creates an offence in circumstances where a person installs a designated device, an air conditioner or an external light, which results in a local nuisance. This offence is designed to capture the companies and individuals who install the devices who are expected to understand the appropriate placement of them.

It is in the ears or the eyes of the beholder whether people think something is a nuisance so it will be interesting, if this bill becomes law, to see how that is reflected in the community. As I have indicated, not so much in the rural sector but certainly in an urban or town environment, that is where you will have the issues over fences: for instance, where a fence is and whether it needs replacing. This is where someone will be worried about whether that light is overshadowing their property or that air conditioner is making too much noise.

There are defences to the offence of causing a local nuisance, which is good to see; for example, if the person did not foresee and could not reasonably be expected to have foreseen that installation of the device would, when operated, result in local nuisance. I am pleased to see that there is a defence instilled in the legislation, but, again, it is in the eye of the beholder whether it is actually a local nuisance.

There is some concern that the offence may disproportionally impact small businesses and employees. As I indicated, as we experience increasing urban infill—and it is not just urban in the city like Adelaide; it is the town-fill that we get in other towns right across the state—we will certainly be exploring this during the committee stage and will note with interest the discussion as it goes to the committee stage in this house and then goes for more debate in the other place.

In relation to clauses 14 and 15 in regard to the management of shopping trolleys, the most substantive change to the act is the creation of an offence relating to the littering of shopping trolleys. There are various amendments required to create the relevant provisions, along with inserting new provisions which are summarised here: firstly, defining a shopping trolley as litter; secondly, inserting a new section 24A, which will require a retailer—for example, a supermarket, a hardware store, a fruit and veg shop—to mark their trolleys with an identification system such as a label so that the owner of the trolley can be identified.

The insertion of new section 24B creates an obligation on retailers to collect shopping trolleys which have strayed beyond the premises of their business. That is not by their own doing. It is by shoppers who have just decided, 'Oh, well, we will walk home and we will wheel the trolley'—500 metres, a kilometre, however far; it is amazing where you can find these at times. Where causing a hazard, a trolley must be collected immediately after receiving a notification, with a penalty of $10,000 or an expiation fee of $1,000. If a trolley is not creating a hazard, the trolley must be collected within three business days after being notified or becoming aware of the location of the trolley, with a penalty of $5,000 and an expiation fee of $500.

Also as part of the legislative framework in the bill, it creates a framework for councils, under section 30 of the act, to issue a nuisance and litter abatement notice to retailers in relation to the management of shopping trolleys. If a litter abatement notice is issued, the bill is prescriptive about the matters which may be set out in the abatement notice, including that if a geographic area needs to be identified, it will apply to shopping trolleys within one kilometre of the business.

As I said before, the amendments are creating a framework which would penalise the retailer, and this is something that obviously has caused some angst amongst some retailers, whether they be a supermarket, a hardware shop or a fruit and veg shop: the removal of a shopping trolley from the premises of their business by a consumer. That is the sticking point for some owners of businesses, whether they be small, medium or large businesses across South Australia: people are being made liable for individuals who shop at their premises and are extremely loose with the management of a shopping trolley.

The South Australian Independent Retailers have raised concerns about this approach, which sees a trolley defined as litter, noting that they would prefer an approach which sees this behaviour managed as theft of private property. There have been alternative options described here today which would be less heavy-handed, for example, the development of a model by-law that could be used by councils where relevant. There was also talk about the possibility of geofencing, but I understand that would be pretty expensive as well.

The reforms have been prepared in consultation with several councils across the board, with a Local Government Association working group that included representation from a number of councils: Salisbury, Gawler, Norwood Payneham & St Peters, Mitcham, West Torrens, Marion, Playford, and Port Adelaide Enfield—all metropolitan.

As I have said multiple times in my speech here today, the most contentious aspect of this bill is the management of shopping trolleys as litter. I think we have to be very careful how we manage this through the debate. I think the Environment Protection Authority indicated that Coles was the only supermarket that provided formal feedback during the consultation process, and they indicated that they would accept the changes proposed. In contrast, the South Australian Independent Retailers have raised concerns about the impact of the changes relating to shopping trolleys, in particular the precedent that it would set to penalise the owner of the trolley for the littering of the trolley.

For some people it may seem a simple proposition just to put the onus of blame on the retailers. I am not saying someone needs to be held accountable, but I believe the customers should be held accountable as well. I am not sure quite how you would do that, because shopping trolleys just get abandoned. We have had them abandoned in the driveway of my office in Murray Bridge; abandoned anywhere around the place. Thankfully, I have not seen too many.

I would have thought that shopping centres and hardware stores, etc. would be keen to get their trolleys back, because I understand they are at least about $400 each to produce and you do not have to lose too many shopping trolleys to add up to a significant amount of money. But I can see the retailers will have to have trolley hustlers ready to get out there with a ute and trailer ready to tour the streets of the council areas to retrieve these—and that might be the best outcome for everyone, but it still comes at a cost and the consumer will pay one way or the other.

Certainly, as part of the legislation that we need to look at through the committee debate and in the other place is the so-called nuisance around external lights and air conditioners to make sure that we get the right outcome for the citizens of our state.

Time expired.

Debate adjourned on motion of Mr Odenwalder.

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