Regulation and enforcement

1. Regulation and enforcement

Our Regulation and Enforcement team performs a regulatory role which includes:

  • undertaking mandatory inspections
  • investigating approximately XXX customer requests (complaints) per year
  • issuing orders
  • issuing penalty notices
  • writing policies
  • undertaking education and compliance programs on various high profile topics.

We work to ensure our approach to regulation and enforcement is both consistent and transparent and we work directly with other agencies and community groups to make Bellingen Shire safer, cleaner, healthier and more accessible. 



Our Enforcement Officers undertake a range of wide range of duties, including:

Development Control and Compliance

  • Illegal development and building works
  • Unauthorised development and building works
  • Land-use planning compliance

Environment Control and Compliance

  • Littering and rubbish dumping investigation
  • Illegal land clearing
  • Noise/air/water complaint investigation
  • Onsite septic systems
  • Abandoned motor vehicles
  • Tree removal
  • Swimming pools and spas

Parking Control

  • On and off street parking
  • Mobility parking enforcement
  • School zone enforcement

Animal Care and Control

  • Companion Animal management
  • Patrols, impounding, housing, stock control
  • Roaming and barking dog complaints
  • RSPCA contract management
  • Microchipping and registration enforcement


Complaints or requests

Use Council's online 'Report It' form to submit complaints or requests alleging unlawful activity.


We will record the allegation in Council’s customer request management system and will allocate each report with a unique reference number.

The request will be referred to the relevant Council Officer to commence any necessary investigation. The name, address and contact details of the person submitting the complaint will also be recorded. This information is critical as we may need to rely on evidence from you (the complainant) to prove any alleged offence and commence enforcement action. We will advise you of the action, if any, taken or the reasons why no action was taken in the circumstances.

Generally, information on this person will not be released. However, we may be required to disclose this information in a variety of circumstances including the following:

  • When access to the information is permitted under Legislation, including the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 or section 12 of the Local Government Act.

  • When access to the information is permitted under another Council Policy.

  • Legal proceedings are commenced and the information is disclosed in evidence served.

  • The nature of the allegation otherwise makes it a necessity.

  • Supporting material provided by complainants may not be able to be used as evidence.

Also, in some circumstances it may be possible to ascertain the identity of the person submitting the complaint by the nature of the allegation. 


Anonymous complaints or requests

Anonymous Requests for investigations are frequently found to be unsubstantiated and result in resources being wasted.

Contact names, addresses and phone numbers are important to confirm information or, if necessary, obtain additional information to allow investigations to be properly conducted.

Anonymous requests for disputes and grievances investigation have frequently been found to be as a result of a neighbourhood dispute or involve issues that Council should not be a party to. Given this, anonymous requests will only be accepted in the following categories:

  • Serious pollution events
  • Swimming pool barrier safety
  • Savage dogs
  • Matters of a serious threat to public health or safety Sewer overflows
  • Dangerous/unsafe buildings with immediate threat to life.


Risk based approach

Our community has become more expectant of living in a healthy community where we value and protect our environment. It is understandable that the number of laws and regulations have increased as a direct correlation of this expectation.

From time to time complaints will exceed available resources. Our Regulation and Enforcement Division uses a risk based resource allocation approach so that we can focus resources on matters that represent the biggest risk to the community and the environment.




2. Ranger Services

The Bellingen Shire Council Ranger Services play a significant role towards making our community a better place to live. Rangers work with the local community and other government agencies to promote compliance through both education and enforcement.

  • Rangers provide core services during normal office hours,  Monday to Friday.
  • The Rangers are also on call after hours for emergency matters only. These include public safety issues such as stock on public roads and serious dog attacks.
  • To report all after hours emergencies please telephone 6655 7300

The Rangers have a broad range of duties to conduct on behalf of Council and include such things as parking patrol, animal control, illegal waste dumping, general environmental protection and public safety and order, including the movement of stock from public roads and road reserves, community consultation and education in relation to law and enforcement matters.

Much of the work done by rangers results from requests from members of the community and often involves an investigation. In attempting to find solutions, our rangers attempt to help the community as a whole.

The Rangers ensure that a balance is provided to enable consistency in law enforcement to keep people safe as well as maintain the enjoyment of the local area and lifestyle for people within the community.

3. Alcohol Free Zones

Council resolved at its September Ordinary Meeting to re-establish the Alcohol Free Zones in the Bellingen, Dorrigo and Urunga town centres for a period of four (4) years from 23 September 2015.

The established zones will not apply to approved footpath dining areas for which a liquor licence had been issued.

The extent of the Alcohol Free Zones is indicated on the diagrams below.

Bellingen Alcohol Free Zone(PDF, 829KB)

Dorrigo Alcohol Free Zone(PDF, 799KB)

Urunga Alcohol Free Zone(PDF, 714KB)