Local laws consultation gets extended

Redland City residents will have more time to have their say on the City’s proposed new local laws after Council voted to extend the public notification period by a month to 5 November.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams asked Council to extend the consultation period beyond the original 8 October deadline to give residents greater opportunity to understand and provide feedback on the current draft local laws.

“This is an important process and we owe it to our residents to get it right. If that means giving them more time to have their say, then that’s what we will do,” she said.

“I’m also concerned that residents don’t fully understand or appreciate the effects of some of the proposed changes, including a proposal to significantly increase parking fines in line with State penalty units.

“In theory linking parking fines to State Government penalties seems to make sense and is line with other councils but, as a local resident, mother and former business owner, I’m not comfortable with this proposed change and I’m sure there will be plenty of residents who share my concerns.

“As yet the submissions we have received do not reflect this assumption, which would suggest residents may not fully understand all proposed changes.”

Cr Williams said the nature of local laws as a legal framework meant they could be quite confusing.

“We need to make sure everyone is aware of this and other significant changes proposed under the current draft local laws and give them time to provide feedback,” she said.

“This extension to the public notification period will allow residents to better understand the proposed changes and for Council officers to review how these changes are being communicated to ensure they are crystal clear.”

Proposed changes to the laws include amending animal management provisions relating to enclosing dogs, keeping birds caged on certain-sized properties and feeding native birds.

Cr Williams said the drafting of the proposed new local laws began in 2013 and community consultation had already been open for eight weeks, rather than the required three.

“This is the first time we have reviewed all of our local laws so we need to get it right. This is not a process we need to rush,” she said.

“I emphasise that none of the proposals have been accepted by Council and we can amend the draft local laws to reflect community feedback. The best way for us to achieve that is for as many people as possible to tell us what they think.
“The draft local laws have been endorsed by the State Government but ultimately it is Council that approves them.

“Before we do I want us to be confident that residents have had every opportunity to have their say.”

For more information visit Council’s website. The local laws consultation phase will now close on 5 November 2014.