‘Pow­er­less’ to stop over­crowded houses

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.