Local Law amendment a new deterrent against threats and abuse

People who threaten, insult or use abusive language to a Council officer are committing an offence and risk being fined, under a new Local Law amendment adopted by Burdekin Shire Council.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the purpose of Administration (Amendment) Local Law (No 1) 2017 was to provide a deterrent for people who choose to display unacceptable behaviour.

“The vast majority of residents are respectful, friendly and community-minded so when this sort of behaviour does occur, it is not in keeping with the expectations of the community,” Cr McLaughlin said.

The original Local Law only addressed a situation where an ‘authorised person’ was threatened or abused.

Cr McLaughlin said under the amendment, the Local Law had been extended to include ‘all Council officers’.

“Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence shows that abuse has escalated over time and members of the public are more aggressive and more likely to challenge Council workers when they are just doing their job,” Cr. McLaughlin said.

“This change has been made to provide some redress to those employees who are placed in that situation.

“It is not intended to rely upon this amendment to the Local Law to automatically issue fines in all situations, however it will be beneficial for those affected employees to have the backing of this legislation, particularly in serving as a deterrent.

“Although Council would hope not to have to issue a fine, the ability to do so is there.”

For further information please visit Council’s website www.burdekin.qld.gov.au or contact Council’s Customer Service Centre on (07) 4783 9800.

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