Seasonal accommodation concerns
The influx of seasonal workers into the North Burnett provides an economic boost to the region. Whilst there are many positive stories within our communities, it does create a shortage of accommodation within our towns which creates a number of problems.
Mayor Chambers explained that while many people do the right thing, a number of residents have identified business opportunities to set themselves up as places for short term accommodation in breach of numerous laws.
Council has received a number of complaints about illegal camping, overcrowded dwellings and occupied caravans.
People who set up share accommodation with more than five unrelated tenants may trigger the definition for budget accommodation for which there are significant fire safety and amenity issues.
Laws were introduced by the State Government following the Childers’ backpacker fire which occurred in 2000 with the loss of 15 lives. Council officers in conjunction with Queensland Fire and Emergency Service (QFES) will respond to any reports of unlawful accommodation places.
There has also been a practice of renting out caravans in back yards. Using the residential land for short term accommodation can breach Council’s Planning Scheme and the Planning Act 2016 which carries a fine of up to a maximum of $567,675. Using caravans may also result in a lack of facilities such as toilets and showers which may result in public health issues. Council can issue Public Health Orders requiring activities to be stopped until risks to public health have been implemented.
“Council wants to support our rural economy by encouraging seasonal workers to the region however, we do want to ensure that the health and safety of visitors are protected and that places of accommodation do not impact upon their neighbours”, Cr Chambers said.
Council officers look forward to working with residents and QFES to ensure the safety of all residents and visitors to the region.
For further information please contact Council’s Environmental Services or Development Services staff on 1300 696 272 (1300 MY NBRC) or email Council.