Noosa Council is concerned about roadside abuses for roadworkers.
Noosa Council is concerned about roadside abuses for roadworkers.

Workers cop roadside sprays after delays

Council garden crews working to clean up road verges are coping verbal sprays if their works cause even minor delays.

This is according to Noosa Council infrastructure services director Carl Billingham as he wrestles with the best way to improve council's work culture and produce more efficient and "happy" field workers.

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"Previous results from past staff surveys wasn't that great, so we are looking at how we can improve our system," Mr Billingham has told councillors during a services committee briefing.

Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie told Mr Billingham to let the council field workers know they are appreciated.

"I do get positive comments from the community all the time when they see them working on the roundabouts and the verges," Cr Wilkie said.

"They are appreciated and people do notice what they do."

Mr Billingham said the workers reported getting verbally abused.

"Which is a real shame, especially the ones working on the road," he said.

He said this verbal abuse comes from people who have been mildly delayed by their works.

"Some of the abuse they get, especially the parks and garden crews when they're working the road verges, nobody should have to deal with that," Mr Billingham said.

Noosa Council workers are copping some verbal sprays from passing motorists caught up in delays.
Noosa Council workers are copping some verbal sprays from passing motorists caught up in delays.

"That does impact on morale, so that's something we have to deal with."

He said council was one year in to a three-to-five-year plan to help change the council work culture.

"We've got the technology, how do we use it more efficiently in the field?" Mr Billingham said.

"A lot of them aren't used to using computers, they're out in the field all the time and they don't know how to use that technology.

"You just can't thrust an iPad at someone and say 'here use it', you've got to train that into them," Mr Billingham said.

Cr Joe Jurisevic said these staff had their knowledge stored in their head and technology does not dig a hole and seal a road.

"You still need the physical knowledge and expertise," Cr Jurisevic said.

Mr Billingham said the COVID-19 pandemic had not helped with the planned cultural overhaul.

"Unfortunately we're not able to get people together to work out what their concerns and issues are," Mr Billingham said.

In recent times he has been restricted to talking to staff gatherings in depot carparks.

"It's not necessarily the best way to win over hearts and minds when everybody's standing metres apart from each other," he said.

"To be honest with your culture, it's a bit a gnarly ball of string … it's like 'what do I do first?' If you get it wrong you can actually make it worse, so we've got to be very careful.

"We've also got an ageing population, or workforce, so we do need to have a look at certain things that are associated with that from a workplace health and safety perspective," he said.


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