Monday, September 7, 2009


This is a very interesting law and deals with a whole raft of diverse issues that affect us on a day to day basis.

the topics range from dangerous land, junk cars, burning off, animal noise, camping, animals and birds, penalties for infringement, disposal of waste. drainage, open air markets just to touch on a few.


  1. Local law #2: Environment

    Very interesting stuff here and some comments that are specific and some that are systemic in nature:

    Enforcement: First and foremost why have these regulations if they are not going to be enforced which many are not. Do we need to increase our enforcement staff so that we can move from a reactive engagement to a proactive engagement?

    Dangerous Animals: need detailed policies on dangerous animals, what they are and how they are treated. Also big penalties for those who do not control the animals….they are the problem

    Where Sections of Local Governance are referenced they should be added to the attachments section.

    Penalty Units: it seems absurd that the penalty units decrease as offensives continue and some of the penalties seem quite low for the severity of the breach. I recommend a scheme where the basic penalty is righteous to the violation and that a second or subsequent offence be twice the basic penalty and that continuing offenses be twice the subsequent offence. Why reduce the penalty for repeated violations?

  2. Local Amenity: need a definition of just what this is as it fits in with many of provisions of this local law.

    Part2 9.1.c: define “excessive”

    Part2 11.1.a: Define “unsightly”

    “First offense”: should be defined as not responding to notices. No second notice that the first was not adhered to. Apply the Penalty Points.

    Follow-up: a follow up system needs to be implemented where notices are followed up as a matter of policy within a week of when notice due date expires. This is the only way people will believe that you are serious about this. Always the option to wave penalties, etc. for “substantive” (define this) reasons

    Part2 12.3: why should any junk and unregistered motor vehicles be allowed to be stored in public view?? The issue then goes to how many registered cars can be parked in the front yard (local amenity)? In some cases it looks like a used car park.

    Part2 Open Air Burning: NO burning without a permit. Then have inspectors randomly inspect burn sites to insure that the burn is complying with the permit. There are other viable solutions to open air burning. This permit could be in the form of a notification from the applicant giving details of what and where and when so that the inspectors can see that all is in accordance with the regulations.

    Part2 Advertising and Bill Posting: Need special rules for Real Estate signs that hang around for months after the property is sold. Two weeks free advertising is enough. This would certainly be covered under local amenity issues.

    Part2 24.2 Visibility of Caravans … again a local amenity where caravans are parked all over the lawn and it looks like a caravan park.

    Part2 24.3.a: occupy a caravan on private property for six months without a permit. Two weeks in any three month period without a permit sounds quite reasonable.

    Part3 Noise Control: Penalty Points are way too low to start with. These, especially, animal noise, needs to be followed up and stronger enforcement needs to be initiated. It should not be the responsibility of the complainant to follow up. The shire should follow up to see if there has been compliance. Also need rangers available to check this out when it happens like late in evening. Mention and include in the appendix the noise data collection log (expand beyond barking dogs).

    Part4 Animals and Birds: need to deal with obnoxious smells. And also very stringent legislation about the dog schitt all over the place. Need more enforcement rangers and stronger penalty points. And it is not the responsibility of the shire to provide bags to pick it up with but is a nice gesture on their part.

  3. In today’s society it is not good enough for the council to say “have you talked to your neighbor about it”. In many cases this is not an option due to the real possibility of being abused or bashed. The shire needs to find a way that these issues can be acted upon so that it seems like the shire is doing the bad guy and is only enforcing the regulations, not the neighbors. When neighbors complain about neighbors it only adds to disharmony within the neighborhood. Even mentioning that there is a complaint (and not who complained) is enough to set some people off into a rage (speaking from personal experience)

  4. We have a concern with "party houses" in our neighbourhood. The houses are let mainly for weekends on many occasions through the year. The people who rent the houses do not have any concern for the permanent residents and party on - outside on the balcony until sometimes 4 and 5 in the morning. Their noise is very loud and their language is very colorful.
    The Council says to speak to the owner. The owners say they have to rent it and can't control any guests if they disturb the neighbours. The police are often called but can only ask for quiet, they cannot evict. The volume seems to go up louder once the police leave.
    So far a young couple have sold their home to get away from the noise and another neighbour has had to relinquish a lease on an adjoining property. We have been told that there is nothing the council can do. If it was a motel, the manager would be on site and would control the noise level and or ask the offenders to leave.
    We need appropriate laws to protect the amenity of permanent residents. Some of our neighbours have to regularly move bedrooms in order to get some sleep. We live in fear that any Friday or Saturday night we will be disturbed or more importantly be the victims of property damage or personal violence.

  5. It should be obvious to any reasonable person that so called "minor neighbourhood disputes" can result in very serious angst, property damage and or physical injury to concerned parties. Just read the news!

    It is therefore a very serious responsibility to have clearly defined local laws and a well resourced and trained enforcement regime. In addition to the above all persons who purchase land in the shire should be required to familiar themselves with current local laws and be informed of those laws at the time of their land purchase.

    Ignorance is not an excuse.

    One example of neighbourhood disputes is fencing and tree disputes. Some ignorant individuals plant trees with a growth habit of 15 metres tall and 10 metres wide less than half a metre from a boundary fence and then refuse to prune it an wonder why the fence is damaged by tree roots. The cause of the dispute is clear. As I understand it no local laws exist to cover this situation. I submit that we should have a local to cover this situation.

    Boundary fences are also a constant source of dispute, I believe in addition to state fencing laws, a local law should be enacted that stipulates a boundary fences is just that and should not be used as a retaining wall, plant support mechanism etc.

    In my opinion there is a general contemp for local laws by irresponsible individuals because of poor or non existent enforcement. Penalties need to be increased across the board, this will add a degree of respect for those that breach the local laws.

    In todays society the "have you spoken to your neighbours" is just a cop out for lazy or inefficient enforcement and in some cases leads to greater conflict. If a local law is being breached let the enforcers take action.

    Just having my say.

  6. Vacant Lots: the regulations need to be revised for vacant lots in developed estates. Why should we have to live next to a paddock just because the owner does not have to mow it and then when he finally does it is cut with a bush cutter and it looks like a farm field with just cut hay. Looks like crap.

    We need vacant lot laws that define the condition of the lot on a day to day basis and also what it must look like after it is mowed (it should have to be bagged and taken to the tip)

    If they can afford the vacant lot they can afford to take care of it and keep the amenity of the neighborhood.

  7. I think there are a lot more critical issues than cars/caravans/paddocks (the "tidy syndrome" ??)(not to say that the issue of dangerous dogs urgently needs to be addressed) - like the declining species of flora and fauna on the Peninsula = decline in habitat from over development, freeways etc, and an increase in predation by foxes, cats, dogs, rats, and environmental weeds like polygala, boneseed, dolichos, bridal creeper, blackberries, gorse, pinetrees, cypress, blueberry creeper, cape ivy and many many more.

  8. Need some "neat and tidy" laws that put responsibility for nature strips and sidewalks, etc. to landowners. Retail should have to keep walks in front of their business clean of cigarette butts, trash, etc.

    Same for homeowners and industrial park and other retailers.

    Joe Lenzo, Editor

  9. I Live in Tootgarook,and am sick and tired of complaining to the shire about burning off my husband is very ill and the smell fills up the house on friday through sunday,sometimes it is so bad i have to take him off the Peninsula in the car for the week-end just to get away from the smoke.
    These are not weekenders these people live here and have no care for their fellow beings at all.
    Totally disgusted in the Shire!!!!!!!!