Council is deeply concerned about aggressive behaviour directed at Hepburn Shire staff – a very worrying trend that is on the increase and reaching unprecedented levels.

In response to the escalation in poor behaviour, Council wishes to remind community members that respectful behaviour is non-negotiable.

Bradley Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, said that several recent incidents have highlighted the lack of respect shown towards Council staff.

“While the vast majority of our community are respectful and behave appropriately, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of incidents of occupational violence occurring towards our staff.”

“Staff are regularly feeling intimidated after being approached in the street or in other public places, like the supermarket, and verbally abused, sometimes shouted or sworn at.”

“We acknowledge that we don’t always get things right and sometimes mistakes are made, but that does not excuse poor behaviour towards staff. If we get things wrong, let us know in a respectful way through the many mechanisms available and we’ll do what we can to put things right,” said Mr Thomas.

Mayor Cr. Brian Hood reinforced the same message, saying that Council staff, and councillors, are entitled to have a safe workplace.

“Verbal abuse and threatening behaviour is simply not acceptable, and that includes cowardly online abuse. Council has well-established complaint handling procedures, so if community members have a complaint, they must raise it through the appropriate channels. Council will do everything within its powers to protect its staff and Councillors. We will not tolerate aggressive, abusive or threatening behaviour”.


If, as a community member, you are dissatisfied with with a Council policy, a Councillor,  a procedure, a staff member, the quality of service you receive, the fees charges levied against you or even the complaints-handling process itself, you can lodge a complaint by post, email or by an online form. Council is committed to resolving complaints within 30 days.