Outcomes - Selected Case Summaries



Delayed planning enforcement

Early Resolution | 20 January 2022
Department of Planning

The complainant raised a number of issues regarding a property located next to his home, including that the land, in a residential subdivision, was being used to keep farm animals and to store junked vehicles. He attempted to have the issue addressed through the planning department, but the landowner failed to comply with a nuisance abatement process and a case later filed with the director of public prosecutions (DPP) was ruled out of time in November 2021. The complainant was then advised by planning to complain to the Ombudsman.

Although the Ombudsman has no authority to review charging decisions of the DPP, our office looked into the matter of how planning handled its response. We determined there were two issues for investigation regarding the planning department: delay and improper administration. We told the complainant we would seek to resolve the matter informally, prior to moving to a full investigation.

During the informal review, planning officials stated they disagreed with the DPP decision that the case was time barred, but decided not to appeal it. Following some discussion of the matter, our office received an email from planning indicating that a new abatement notice would be issued to the property owner regarding the improper land use. If the abatement notice was not followed, a new report would be sent to the DPP and prosecution would ensue. We wrote back to the complainant stating that the matter appeared to have been resolved to the extent that it could be for the moment, but that if any other issues should occur, he should write back to our office and we would reopen the case.