Well it’s now over 12 months and still no answer from CEO Lisa Desmond at the Fraser Coast Regional Council in relation to refunding my rates for their made up ‘backflow fee’.
So far in the past five years Council has made $6,427.50 from the complex I live at for NOT monitoring or recording backflow testing. “Council has a responsibility under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002 to maintain a program for the registration and auditing of the annual maintenance and testing carried out” … yet does NOT do this but charges for it.
“The wheels have fallen off this bus…” – CEO Lisa Desmond
“We are floundering on our continuous improvement and efficiency drivers across Directorates and failing basic legislative responsibilities. Examples: backflow prevention device testing …. Cheers Lisa Desmond CEO” 16th March 2016
Quite the little cash cow this backflow fee. If you are now wondering why resorts and apartments are receiving requests to have their backflows tested in the past two weeks it is because I have busted the Council milking the system and charging for work not done. If you have been charged an annual backflow fee on your rates, and the work has not been completed by a plumber and recorded by Council, please contact them for a refund.
Section 38 of Standard Plumbing and Drainage Regulation 2003 states
(1) A local government must implement and maintain a program for its local government area for the registration, maintenance and testing of testable backflow prevention devices installed in the area.
(2) The local government, or an entity authorised by the local government, must keep a register of the testable backflow prevention devices.
21 Jan 2016
IS ANYONE ELSE ON THE FRASER COAST BEING CHARGED A $57.44 BACKFLOW FEE ON THEIR RATES FOR NON EXISTENT TESTING THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR PROTECTION AGAINST CONTAMINATION?
Upon reading this story today below in relation to legionella bacteria I am very alarmed at what is going on with our water!
FRASER COAST CHRONICLE here –
“ THE Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service’s routine water quality testing program has confirmed a positive test for legionella bacteria in hot water at the Hervey Bay Oral Health and Cancer Care Centre. Two isolated positive results have been confirmed at hot water outlets in hand basins, but cold water has been cleared by current testing and all sterile water used for clinical purposes including all dental procedures is treated and unaffected. “
Where I live we are charged a backflow fee in our rates which is an annual maintenance and testing carried out on testable backflow prevention devices installed in the Region which is an important role played by Council as it contributes to the protection against contamination of the town water supply.
The alarming part is Council does not do, monitor or record this testing yet charge me for it annually!!!
1. Council does not send the required notices / letters to advise of this required annual testing to my home / apartment complex
2. A licensed Plumber (with Backflow Testing endorsement on their license) is not engaged to carry out the test at my home
3. Our body corporate does not pay this non-existent licensed Plumber for any work
4. This non-existent licensed Plumber does not give his report to Council to be filed, with which device, at which location, was tested on which date
5. Council have said in writing they have NO list what so ever of back flow testing as per Councils responsibility under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002 to maintain a program for the registration and auditing of the annual maintenance and testing carried.
Council email extract – “Council does not keep a list of the number of inspections carried out.”
• The below is an email I sent to Council / Lisa Desmond on Tuesday, 24 November 2015 4:07 PM and the Ombudsman plus Ministers that the CEO only acknowledged after repeated emails (15 in total) SEVEN WEEKS LATER on Thursday, 14 January 2016 3:56 PM
Sent: Thursday, 14 January 2016 3:56 PM
Subject: Official Acknowledgement of Complaint – J Maynes – 2015-16 Fraser Coast Regional Council Annual Rates Notices
Dear Ms. Maynes
Thank you for your emails of 6 and 13 January, 2016, in relation to the above matter. In summary emails to internal Council staff, relating to this matter, commenced on 14 August, 2015, with the following being a chronological order of emails received and responses provided by Council Officers in relation to this matter:- ……………………….. Lisa Desmond (I will advise the response when I receive one)
• EMAIL SENT TO COUNCIL FROM previous ongoing rates communication ‘he’ is in reference to two separate staff members correspondence provided:
Sent: Tuesday, 24 November 2015 4:07 PM
Subject: RE: 2015-16 Fraser Coast Regional Council Annual Rates Notices
……………….. emailed me this information:
All Backflow Devices have to be tested. All test reports are to be submitted to Council. No Devices are tested by Council. Council keeps a Backflow Device Test Register. The Backflow Device Fee issued by Council maintains the register and pays for any inspections required due to complaints.
- When did this charging for this Backflow Device commence within our rates and what Minutes was it approved in?
- Why would he say there is a register?
- How can you say that “it appears that the backflow devices at ……………. are overdue to be tested”? How would you know this, when you state you do “not have a full list of the testing history for the backflow devices on your property” and then further state that you actually indeed have NO list what so ever – ” Council does not keep a list of the number of inspections carried out.” ????
- Why would Council not record inspections and complaints made? This would be a mandatory incident report under the LGA 2009 and Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002?
- You mention “Council has a responsibility under the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2002 to maintain a program for the registration and auditing of the annual maintenance and testing carried”Why would you not have a list of inspections for our premises if they are annual and a record of the above auditing for the registration as per your statement being that this is a Council requirement – “they are required to be tested annually”?
- Our receptionist has confirmed the “premises”(address removed) has never been contacted in relation to this by Council.
- As the Chairman of the “premises” I can confirm the body corporate has never been contacted in relation to this testing.
- This is fraudulent to charge our “premises” per annum for work that;
– has NOT been carried out
– has not been recorded or documented in any form
– that Council has no evidence of
- Due to there being NO record of any backflow testing inspections I demand the owners of our “premises” be refunded the $57.44 per annum you are charging for work not done or recorded since the commencement of this Backflow Device fee.That is $1,723.20 per annum Council has stolen from our 30 owners.