Sunshine Coast Council today approved amendments to its suite of local laws signalling the introduction of 12 new laws which take effect from 1 January 2012.
Ministerial approval was granted on 30 November facilitating final approval and ratification at today’s Ordinary Meeting.
Corporate Planning and Performance Portfolio Councillor Tim Dwyer said that reducing the current set of three local laws – down from 95 (51 local laws and 44 subordinate local laws) to 12 (6 local laws and 6 subordinate local laws); is a significant step forward in creating certainty for the community and in helping achieve our vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region.
“The changes represent a simple underlying purpose of creating uniformity and practicality by adopting one functional, easy to understand, enforceable and contemporary suite of laws across the region,” Cr Dwyer said.
The local laws introduce a new system for local laws and while making a direct comparison to the old local laws is difficult because the three previous local laws were all different, the major changes include the removal of provisions relating to libraries, cemeteries, swimming pool fencing, regulated traffic areas, smoke nuisances, temporary accommodation, barking dogs, blasting operations, on-site sewerage facilities, domestic water carriers, water meters, jetties and wharfs, rental accommodation and any other matter now regulated by State legislation.
The new local laws also introduce new provisions relating to matters such shopping trolleys, animal prohibited areas, operation of model aircraft, releasing helium balloons, jumping diving and fishing off bridges, dog prohibited, on-leash and off-leash areas, and the keeping of poultry, pigeons and other animals.
“This new suite has stripped out redundant laws where State Legislation has stronger enforcement powers and will eventually replace the existing local laws for the region.
“For example the law which regulates swimming pools is now governed by State law, and therefore has overridden the need for a local law requiring regulation by local councils.
Councillor Dwyer said this massive task of reviewing and consolidating our local laws was about giving people robust rules that they can understand and then adhere to.
“The local laws are supported by the council’s adopted compliance and enforcement policy which seeks to educate and build awareness within our community rather than wield a big stick approach.
“It must be stressed however, that after following that policy if it is necessary for council to take enforcement action to ensure that the amenity, wellbeing and safety of the community is assured, such action will be taken.
“Now that approval has been granted, council will over the coming weeks commence an extensive awareness program to explain the introduction of the new laws and how the changes will affect members of the public.
“Where a change will have significant impact, council will ensure that appropriate signage and education is undertaken to help people do the right thing.
“The first campaign – and perhaps the most emotional – is around dog off leash areas and education starts next week with the launch of a new brochure that explains the new rules and encourages responsible pet ownership.
The new local laws will take effect from 1 January 2011. The new local laws are not retrospective.
“Any approvals currently in place will remain as per the existing local laws, however when these permits or approvals expire there will be an expectation that the applicants will ensure that they are compliant with any changes that may result from the new local law provisions,” Cr Dwyer said.
The local laws went through an extensive consultation process with continual internal stakeholder consultation, formally organised state government interest checks and public interest tests to ensure all anti-competitive provisions were tested and determined against the public benefit.
Local laws are statutory instruments of law and are ultimately enforceable through the Courts.
The community is encouraged to keep up-to-date with information about changes to the local law by regularly checking council’s website.