Several residents have recently lodged official complaints with Deputy Premier Jackie Trad (Minister for Local Government) and the Ombudsman concerning the continued malpractices and non-compliance of the South Burnett Regional Council employees (Mayor, Councillors and Management staff) regarding local issues raised with their office.
“There are many concerns being raised about the actions of council presently. Unfortunately they consider themselves above any reproach and have continued along the lines of the previous council with ignorance and complete disregard for ratepayers concerns.” said Mr Newson
“The SBRC allegedly continue to deny people access to information under through RTI applications, favoured certain media outlets over others with press releases and I understand that privileged personal information has been divulged to an online media outlet on more than one occasion.”
The most recent complaint from residents is an ongoing issue of a heavy haulage industry being allowed to continue to operate from a private residence within a zoned rural residential location.
It is being claimed this operation/business is directly contravening local laws and guidelines that are imposed upon ratepayers provided by the planning laws and others, within the South Burnett Shire boundary.
“There has been a continued lack of concern or direct action taken by South Burnett Regional Council to assist me with resolving this matter. I have contacted Council staff on so many occasions regarding this matter and have had very little satisfaction or response from them.”
“This local concern has been ongoing for several years now and Council was introduced to the growing & continuing problem officially by me on 13th July 2015, there has been no resolution yet. I understand that Council were verbally made aware of this expanding industry and potential issues of being located within a residential zoned area well prior to this date on several occasions, but no action was ever undertaken by them.” said Mr Delaney
This non response entailed, letters, emails, phone calls (where they are always conveniently in a meeting or out of the office) and personal visits to the Council offices. Apparently over 40 emission diary log sheets have been submitted by 1 resident and many foolscap pages of times and dates of disturbances by another – all for no apparent reason or result.
“You people have failed your constituents, failed sadly, to supply us with a suitable lifestyle quality by letting a heavy haulage business operate from a residential block in an area zoned as rural residential only. Over four years now this operation has expanded and for over two years complaints have been forwarded to you, which you have completely ignored.” said Mr Trickett.
The SBRC has passed the buck on this issue from Ex-Councillors, new Councillors, CEO to at least 3 various management staff, all of who it appears have decided that communications is no longer going to continue with anyone.
“Residents have had to endure the continued ignorance and arrogance from past Councillors and were promised a new ‘vibrant, transparent, honest and communicative council’ continually during the local election campaigns from Councillors and Mayoral candidates. This to-date has NOT happened.” said Mr Newson
The concerns directed to Council relate to the following points:
· This area in question is zoned rural residential only.
A heavy haulage industry should not be operating without Council planning approval within this residential zoned area. 10 residential blocks were devalued by Dept Natural Resources in 2005 due to the proximity of a cattle feedlot within the district, it is considered the continued operation of trucking industry not to be in the best valued interest of local residents.
- This heavy haulage industry has expanded the number of trucks operating from his premise.
· Being woken from 3.30am onwards from trucks leaving.
· They were continually and unnecessarily using their exhaust brakes when returning home.
· They were continually leaving their premise with uncovered loads of wooden blocks well above the height of the sideboards (This was reported to Dept of Transport and officers have visited and talked to the operators over this matter)
· Council has been advised of the continued destruction and worsening road conditions due to the dangerous location of the owners driveway access.
· These heavy vehicles block the entire single lane bitumen road when entering and leaving their premise, not far from a school bus turn point.
· Council are not abiding by their Duty of Care for residents and ratepayers within the area.
· Council were advised of the environmental and health risk of having a large number of used truck tyres sitting on their premise within this populated area, especially during mosquito season and with some mosquito carrying infectious diseases reportedly within the South Burnett.
· This operator has not ceased operations or eased noise, dust/air or light pollution for any significant period during this entire Council complaint process
· This operator is continually repairing or maintaining his fleet after hours and over weekends. This causes excess noise pollution with usage of electrical tools and banging of metal.
· Residents have to endure the noise from shunting of empty dog trailers being moved around the premise and reversing alarms from the trucks at early and late hours
· There has been maintenance done on other heavy haulage equipment and vehicles done on premise also.
There are other issues that would relate directly to Council Policies and Laws on the continued operation of this industry. Why has council not directly stepped and given positive directions to cease this illegally located and lifestyle destructive business?
Questions being asked but yet to be answered are:
· Why is Council still allowing this heavy haulage truck operator to continue breaking the local Shire planning laws with this industry continuing to operate and cause disturbance?
· Why is Council not enforcing the same restrictions on heavy vehicle noise from being operated at early hours in this rural residential area as they do to other residential areas?
· Why were residents informed by Management that the matter had been passed onto Council Solicitors and the operator had 21 days to ‘show cause’ and then another 21 days to comply? (when it had not been at that time)
· Why won’t Council reply to emails or phone calls or give an update on the continuing operations? These trucks are still leaving early hours of the morning and disrupting the entire neighbourhoods rest.
- Has Council invoked legal actions against this trucking business at all?
- Is Council now assisting this industry in gathering permission to operate against the wish of local residents ?
- What actions is Council going to do to finalise the angst / health issues being caused to ratepayers within the area?
- Is council considering the option of re-zoning any are to assist the continuance of this haulage industry?
- Residents are requesting that the Ministers office investigate the practices of the SBRC and ensure that residents of the Sth Burnett are being treated with an appropriate level of respect and good governance as promoted upon councils website. Residents believe that many ongoing practices of the SBRC fall vastly short of the expected level of appropriate service requirements.
Council are still yet to respond.