Council left with pensioner blues

ONE of the main reasons Noosa Council has struggled to pass on the pension rates rebates was the Sunshine Coast administration did not let its new northern neighbour know who was eligible.

Noosa CEO Brett de Chastel told a recent Noosa ratepayers' meeting: "Sunshine Coast Council decided they were unable to provide us with information about all the pensioners (in Noosa).

"Now, somehow the other three de-amalgamated councils didn't have that problem and were able to provide pensioner information to the other three de-amalgamated councils.

"We had no information given to us about who were or weren't pensioners."

Mr de Chastel said council staff were left to deal with "heaps and heaps and heaps of pensioners ringing up saying, I haven't got my pension (rates) notice".

The CEO said this was part of the reason for the high number of calls to the new council that sent the phone system into meltdown.

"There's no doubt about it, we got loved to death, particularly the first month or so. Sunshine Coast Council looks after probably about 300,000 people and on a typical day they get about 900 phone calls.

"We're one sixth of that size; just over 50,000 people. We're getting over 700 phone calls a day," he said.

Mr de Chastel thought the call level would be around 150.

"So we were getting swamped, and we haven't dealt with that as well as we could have. And we're still struggling a little to deal with it.

"It's starting to come down to a better level now, but we're still not there and we're looking at how we can do that better," he said.

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