There’s No Excuse for Abuse campaign launched

Published: 24 May 2024

An increasing trend of incidents involving verbal and physical threats against its staff has prompted Mackay Regional Council to act.

Council is standing up for its workers and saying it won’t tolerate this abuse.

It is about to launch a No Excuse for Abuse campaign, which will include radio and television ads featuring four council staff members, as well as posters at its facilities.

CEO Scott Owen said there had been an alarming increase in incidents involving threats against staff.

“This includes in person, over the phone and on social media,’’ Mr Owen said.

“Our staff are part of the community and are just doing their job. It is totally unacceptable to abuse, threaten or intimidate our staff, he said.

“Council will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.”

Mr Owen said there had been more than 165 safety incidents involving some factor of unsavoury interaction by the public in less than two-and-a-half years.

He said that included 40 in 2022, 96 in 2023 and 30 so far in 2024.

“Some of that increase is due to better reporting by staff, but the high numbers are alarming, especially as much of them were going unreported previously.”

Of the injury and near miss incidents reported to council in the past couple of years, 15 per cent were aggressive interactions with members of the public.

“This includes physical assault, threats, inappropriate behaviour, stalking, inappropriate physical contact and verbal abuse,’’ Mr Owen said.

“That is nearly as high as muscular stress injuries suffered by our staff, which was 18 per cent of all incidents reported.”

Mr Owen said as council’s campaign included real staff and not actors, it would not be putting the videos on social media.

“Unfortunately, social media is also where we see a lot of abuse directed at council and its staff,’’ he said.

“We don’t want to subject the staff who have put their hands up to front this important campaign to any abuse on social media.”

No excuse for abuse