Our compliance and enforcement approach to unlawful or non-compliant activity
Council has adopted an Enforcement Policy which is accompanied by guidelines that detail how Council staff will respond and deal with allegations of unlawful works or activity to ensure that we fulfil our responsibilities to the community.
In all cases we would prefer to resolve issues with our residents and help them to be compliant so that we can all live in a safe community with reasonable amenity. We will always send a letter first if unlawful activity is detected (other than minor offences) and we urge the community to call us at this stage and we will work through the issues together.
There are two aspects to Council dealing with unlawful activity:
- We want compliance to be achieved and will use Court action as a last resort.
- Penalties may be applied as a deterrent and to avoid repetition of unlawful behaviour. As stated, prosecution in Court is a last resort.
Your cooperation is important to us in managing the above aspects. Responding to unlawful works or activity can consume considerable resources. In approximately 85% of cases people work with us and respond to what they are being asked to do in order to sort out the issues. This enables them to get on with their lives and we can put our resources to good use elsewhere servicing the community.
If you do not respond to our communications or attempt to resolve the issues raised, you can be issued with a Penalty Infringement Notice or, in more serious cases, you may be taken to court. This may result in you incurring significant costs for unreasonably consuming Council resources.
Our compliance activities rely heavily on the community to make complaints and provide evidence to assist us in taking action in order to ensure we are directing resources in response to community needs and expectations. We also try to be proactive in identifying and dealing with illegal activity of all kinds through targeted compliance programs.
Staff exercise discretion when deciding how to deal with these matters, taking into account the evidence, cost to the community of any action, circumstances of the individual case, public policy and legal precedent.
For more information see our fact sheet and guidelines below. If you have any questions or would like to report illegal activity, phone us on (02) 6625 0500.