Letter to the Editor

Letter To The Editor

Council Plays The Trump Card But Does Not Do The Work- 11 Holt Road

In 2004, 11 Holt Road Tamborine Mountain received approval to extract water for local (Tamborine Mountain) use only. In 2014, a prospective buyer of 11 Holt Road asked Council if they could take the extracted water off the Mountain. Council sought legal advice and were advised only if a new application was submitted and approved. The prospective buyer withdrew.

In 2020, there was a new buyer of 11 Holt Road. It was observed that they were taking extracted water off the Mountain and yet there had been no new application and no approval. I submitted a complaint and was told on 26 October that this was a lawful operation.

I contacted Council again seeking a meeting with officers. That meeting occurred on 12 Dec 20 and I raised a new complaint that Council had made an unlawful decision in allowing the new owners of 11 Holt Road to take extracted water off the Mountain without an application being approved. I was told in January 21 that the decision would be reviewed. Despite writing to the CEO, I received no response.

On 2 March, I submitted a complaint to the Ombudsman and they requested that I give Council more time. I wrote to Council advising them of my complaint again and said that I was giving them more time to respond as requested by the Ombudsman. Council responded that the decision was under review and a response should be provided by the end of April.

As I received no formal response, I again submitted my complaint to the Ombudsman on 28 April. The Ombudsman responded by asking me to give Council yet more time.

On 14 May, I sent Council my complaint again and advised that the Ombudsman had requested that I give Council more time. I received no response so sent the complaint in again on 31 May but this time escalated it to the General Manager, Debra Howe, as is the requirement under the Ombudsman’s process.

As I received no response from Council yet again, on 24 June I sent the complaint again but this time escalating to the top leadership, the Mayor and CEO. On 2 July, I received a response that Council was still actively considering the matter and that they would respond by 23 July. On 22 July, I
received a response that Council was considering all possible options available to them. I again responded and re-iterated my complaint and gave a deadline of 13 August. On 16 August I was advised that the review was ongoing but they could not provide a timeline.

I decided that it was time to go back to the Ombudsman. On 9 September, the Ombudsman responded to me and revealed that Council had now played their trump card. The Ombudsman had contacted Council and Council had advised that I had another appeal channel open to me. That appeal channel was that I could submit to Council an Administrative Action
Complaint. Not a “complaint” as I had been doing for the last few months but an “Administrative Action Complaint”. This has now been done.

So well done Council. You have won this skirmish and won yourself another 60 days to conduct an internal review of why the other review of the decision was taking so long. I look forward to Council’s response.

One question I have though is what did the Mayor and CEO do when they received a copy of the complaint? They obviously did nothing. Do we have the right leadership team?

Yours Faithfully – Nigel Waistell (Tamborine Mountain)