New local law to protect people in public places

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

In May this year, the City of Mandurah adopted its Local Government Property and Public Places Local Law following public consultation.

This month Council prescribed those activities which require a person to seek a permit when undertaken in public places. These are numerous and included riding a vehicle, playing golf or archery, bringing an animal (such as livestock) onto a reserve, and flying or using a motorised aircraft or car.

The law aims to protect people in public places from safety hazards, noise and nuisances. It also protects parks and reserves from potential damage. The law provides a legal option for the City should these concerns be raised about the activities undertaken. These hazards and nuisances can sometimes arise given the popularity of many local reserves and also their environmental values.

This local law simply provides a mechanism for the City to take action at times where a breach is occurring. It is unlikely that small toy motorised cars would result in a breach of this local law.

People looking to undertake these types of activities in public places can obtain a free permit from the City prior to carrying out the activity to alleviate concerns. However having a permit is not the focus, the City uses an ‘education before enforcement’ philosophy in terms of this new local law, and as an example the use of motorised vehicles would only be investigated if a complaint was made. Rangers will not be actively seeking or targeting these activities and are prepared in the field to provide on the spot permits where the uses are not creating any concerns for the community which will often be the case.

There are times where applications for permits are important, as an example where there are other users of reserves such as sport activities, heavy usage by the public or where dogs are allowed off leads. In these cases there may be conditions on the permit issued about appropriate locations and times of use.

The $5000 fine is a maximum penalty imposed by the court, which would be extremely unlikely. The penalty that can be imposed by the City of Mandurah as an infringement is $300 for a breach, which would only be issued in extreme cases.

This local law is the same as a number of other local laws across the state, including local governments in the northern suburbs.

The City manages more than 500 parks and reserves, and this law is part of the way the City works to ensure public places are kept safe and enjoyable for all.