‘Powerless’ to stop overcrowded houses
UP to 20 people are crowding into share houses in the Bowen region, forcing the Whitsunday Regional Council to take drastic measures before disaster strikes.
The council wants the Queensland Government to give more powers to local laws officers so they can enter private properties without owner consent or a court order – and give them the authority to shut down overcrowded houses.
The issue has been troubling local hostel owners, the council and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services for several years.
In the past financial year, QFES investigated about 90 Bowen homes of which 10 were deemed overcrowded and a further 10 were issued with verbal or written warnings.
Since then, the Council had received a further four complaints about overcrowding and QFES had received seven.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said the council was powerless to shut-down the homes which were mostly packed full of fruit pickers because they had to provide the occupants with at least 24 hours notice By doing that, the occupants had time to move out and into another home, he said.
The Council has put the issue forward to be debated at the Local Government Association of Queensland annual conference this month.
PACKING PICKERS: Whitsunday Regional Council wants to clamp down on overcrowded share homes in Bowen.