The violent assault of a Parks employee working on the Hervey Bay Esplanade in early February has prompted the Fraser Coast Regional Council CEO to call on the community to put a stop to the abuse of council staff. 

Council CEO, Ken Diehm, said there had been a recent spate of incidents of physical, verbal and online abuse of Council staff, with the Esplanade assault the most extreme example.

“As a Council, we are committed to providing positive customer experiences and delivering the services our growing community needs,” Mr Diehm said.

“We acknowledge the right of individuals to provide feedback about Council services and decisions, both positive and negative, and to lodge an official complaint if they wish.

“However, our employees shouldn’t be getting abused simply because they work for Council. Our staff are members of the community too and they deserve to be treated with respect.”

Mr Diehm said that while the vast majority of Council staff’s interactions with customers were positive, he was hearing and seeing more and more examples of staff being subjected to verbal and online abuse.

“It is just appalling that Council staff are being yelled at, threatened and physically and verbally abused when trying to do their jobs, while both frontline and senior officers are being tagged and targeted personally on social media with threats and abuse.

“Enough is enough. Everyone has the right to feel safe at work, and Council will take all necessary action, including legal action, to protect our employees.”

In June 2021, a local resident was fined $300 in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court for a “persistent attack” of verbal abuse and threatening behaviour towards a Council community ranger, while in December 2020, a resident was fined $750 for threatening a ranger.

Featured image: Fraser Coast Regional Council CEO, Ken Diehm. Image credit: Fraser Coast Regional Council.

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