Impounding Act Review

The NSW Government undertook a comprehensive review of the Impounding Act 1993 (the Act). The Act aims to help protect people’s safety in, and enjoyment of, public spaces. It enables councils and other public land managers to deal with the negative impacts of abandoned items and stray animals.

The Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021 (the new Act) was passed by Parliament on 19 November 2021. The new Act will repeal the Impounding Act 1993. The needs of communities, councils and other authorised officers across NSW when managing unattended animals and items in public places, will continue to be addressed by the new Act.


It is important to note the new Act has not commenced and will come into effect on a date appointed by proclamation.


The review process is outlined below.


Phase 1 – Consultation on issues

Discussion Paper about the review of the Act was released for public comment during 2020 to seek feedback on whether the Impounding Act remains effective for managing animals and other items left in public spaces. This captured feedback on, and potential solutions to address, the impact of items such as shopping trolleys, boat trailers, share bikes, abandoned cars, e-scooters and stray stock. Feedback on the Discussion Paper closed at the end of March 2020.

The Discussion Paper Submissions Summary Report (July 2020) has been released here.



Boat trailerPhase 2 – Consultation on options

Public feedback on the Discussion Paper was considered when developing preferred options to change the Act. The Government asked for an open discussion amongst key stakeholders to test these preferred options around three key issues: shopping trolleys, stock animals and vehicles, including boat trailers.

Details about the three workshops, and the options papers released on the day of the workshops are below:

Issue Workshop Date Options Paper
Shopping Trolleys 15 June 2021 Developing a regulatory framework for shopping trolleys in NSW – Options Paper – PDF
Stock Animals 22 June 2021 Developing a regulatory framework for animals in NSW – Options Paper – PDF
Vehicles, including trailers 29 June 2021 Developing a regulatory framework for abandoned and unattended vehicles and trailers in NSW – Options Paper – PDF

The feedback received from a range of interested individuals and organisations across NSW, including retailers, and other business and advocacy groups, has played a key role in shaping this review. The Office of Local Government have listened to, and carefully considered your feedback.


Phase 3 – Bill tabled in NSW Parliament

A Bill to progress a number of reforms arising from this review was introduced in the NSW Parliament on 10 November 2021. The Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021 was passed by Parliament on 19 November and assented to by the Governor on 29 November.

Details are available on the NSW Parliament website at or on the Legislation Register at


Prior to commencement of the new Act, supporting regulations and guidance will be made, following public consultation.


In the interim, if you have any questions or would like to discuss these reforms further please contact the Office of Local Government by email to or call 02 4428 4100.