Media release - The Sunshine Coast Regional Council regulatory enforcement report

17 April 2019

Ombudsman releases report on Sunshine Coast Regional Council regulatory enforcement

The Queensland Ombudsman’s report, The Sunshine Coast Regional Council regulatory enforcement report: An investigation of actions taken by Sunshine Coast Regional Council in response to complaints about power boat noise, was today published under the authority of the Speaker of the Queensland Parliament.

The report found that the Sunshine Coast Regional Council failed to meet its regulatory obligations in response to a complaint about power boat noise.

A homeowner was concerned about the noise from two large power boats moored at a neighbouring residential property and made a complaint to Sunshine Coast Regional Council. The homeowner later complained to the Queensland Ombudsman that council had not adequately investigated their noise concerns.

“Council initially reached the conclusion that it was unable to assist. After considering the evidence, I formed the view that council had not met its regulatory obligations,” Ombudsman Phil Clarke said.

“I have chosen to publish this report to highlight the role councils have in regulating noise nuisance.”

The report finds that council failed to complete the necessary step of collecting sufficient evidence to determine whether there was a breach of any provisions relating to environmental nuisance in the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

The Ombudsman also considered that council’s decision to take no action on the complaint was flawed because it did not comply with council’s Compliance and Enforcement Policy 2018.
 
“Regulators are not able to opt out of fulfilling their regulatory responsibilities,” said Mr Clarke.

The Ombudsman has recommended council investigate the complaint and, if a breach is found, take appropriate action.

Sunshine Coast Regional Council advised that it would engage a suitably qualified consultant to conduct an independent assessment, including collecting data with a sound level meter. It would also determine what further action may be reasonable and proportionate having regard to the Environmental Protection Act 1994 and its policy.

 

About the Ombudsman

The Queensland Ombudsman is an independent officer of the Parliament.

The Ombudsman ensures public agencies make fair and balanced decisions for Queenslanders by investigating complaints and conducting own-initiative investigations that tackle broader, systemic concerns.

The Ombudsman can investigate complaints about state government departments, local councils and publicly-funded universities.

The Ombudsman can make recommendations to rectify unfair or unjust decisions and improve administrative practice.

The report

View the full report: The Sunshine Coast Regional Council regulatory enforcement report: An investigation of actions taken by Sunshine Coast Regional Council in response to complaints about power boat noise. (PDF 188.2KB)

Key facts

  • The Queensland Ombudsman’s report, The Sunshine Coast Regional Council regulatory enforcement report: An investigation of actions taken by Sunshine Coast Regional Council in response to complaints about power boat noise, is published under the authority of the Speaker of the Queensland Parliament.
  • A homeowner was concerned about the noise from two large power boats moored at a neighbouring residential property and made a complaint to Sunshine Coast Regional Council. The homeowner later complained to the Queensland Ombudsman that council has not adequately investigated their noise concerns.
  • The report finds that council failed to complete the necessary step of collecting sufficient evidence; and that council did not comply with its Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
  • Regulators are not able to opt out of fulfilling their regulatory responsibilities


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    Media contact: Meredith Evans 07 3005 7049
    Leanne Robertson 07 3005 7007
    or media@ombudsman.qld.gov.au
Last updated: Monday, 5 August 2019 11:58:34 AM
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