New laws could ban problem customers from buildings
THE Fraser Coast Regional Council could roll out new laws to stop serial community pests from contacting the council, including banning them from buildings and blocking phone and email contact.
Councillors will vote on a motion to adopt a new Unreasonable Customer Behaviour Policy at today's meeting.
The policy is designed to allow council employees to deal with aggressive or harassing behaviour from customers and residents.
If passed, the council's CEO will be granted the power to assess unreasonable behaviour and take action.
Council documents reveal some of the actions include banning customers from contacting the council "other than through an approved representative acting on their behalf", restricting email and phone contact, banning access to council buildings and blocking certain customers on social media.
"Where the behaviour is extreme or threatens the safety and welfare of officers, the council may refuse all contact with the customer and not action any of their requests," the documents read.
"Additional actions such as reporting matters to police or taking legal action are also open... based on the assessment of risk."
The documents also state the principles of natural justice will be applied to all the decisions and people will be advised by the council about the decisions.
While not revealing how he would vote, councillor Denis Chapman said he did not agree with the proposal.
He told the Chronicle the public should be allowed to ask questions and have their say on council issues to ensure transparency.
"I think people should respect council staff when they come to the front counter, but it's a big call to ban people from talking about an issue," Cr Chapman said.
"To me, banning people isn't the right way, this has come from out of the blue.
"I'm not in favour of bad behaviour but I'm in favour of people having their say."