Ms JODI McKAY (Strathfield) [10.27 a.m.]: I speak in debate on the Impounding Amendment (Unattended Boat Trailers) Bill 2015. As indicated, the Opposition will not oppose the bill. More than 200,000 boat trailers are currently registered in New South Wales, and no doubt many thousands that are not registered. Of those registered, Roads and Maritime Services estimates that more than 168,000 are stored as trailers, often on residential streets. This bill deals with an issue that has been growing steadily over time—that of boat trailers being parked indefinitely in mostly residential areas. In congested areas in Sydney and surrounds this can cause availability of on-street parking issues, especially when there is clear evidence that a trailer has been abandoned.
The bill will amend the Impounding Act 1993 to give local councils, the NSW Police Force and Roads and Maritime Services the authority to impound a boat trailer that has not been moved for more than three months. Once a boat trailer becomes subject to impounding, 15 days notice must be given to its owner before being impounded. Once impounded, owners can get their trailer back by paying all fees and charges owing. If the trailer is not claimed, it can then be sold or disposed of under the Impounding Act. Members of my community have raised this issue with me, particularly while I am doorknocking or holding street stalls. They have also raised issues with me about trailers and caravans parked on the street, also taking up a parking space.
In fact, I have a trailer in my street that is incredibly annoying. However, this bill does not address that issue, so it seems to be me that this is an odd bill that deals with an isolated issue. Actually, I am probably being polite; it is a poorly drafted bill that has been developed without consultation. I noticed recently that the Australian Institute of Local Government Rangers voted at their annual conference to support a seven-day period before being able to impound a boat trailer. They would also like to see these measures applied to other trailers and caravans, but I guess if there was consultation on the proposal the Government would have found that out.
Unattended boat trailers are not only unsightly to many residents; they also can be a safety hazard. It is essential that unattended trailers do not remain on our streets indefinitely. At the same time, there are thousands of boat owners across New South Wales, especially owners of small boats, who need on-street and residential parking. Not all boat owners are members of exclusive clubs. Many are mums and dads who simply like to use their boats on the weekend. An issue of concern with this bill is that it does not provide a mechanism to distinguish between boats that are parked on streets around New South Wales and unattended for months on end and boats that are used every week but then re-parked on the same site, as if they have not been moved at all.
This begs the obvious question: How will this bill work practically? I look forward to the Minister's response to that question because my understanding is that the Minister has no idea. I also ask why the Minister has limited this legislation to boat trailers. Why does it not apply to ordinary trailers and caravans? Surely these items also take up space on our streets—and I know, anecdotally, that councils have similar problems moving them on. This bill may be the first step to alleviating the problem of boat trailers, but it is a confusing and ill-considered solution. There has been no consultation on the bill. It is essential that Roads and Maritime Services works with local councils, boats owners and rangers to monitor this issue. I think that there will be significant issues in the application of this bill.