Hunter Councils unite against aggression towards staff

Port Stephen

A new campaign by 8 Hunter Councils outlines that Council employees are real people too, and reaffirms the old saying that respect is a two-way street.

Port Stephens Council’s Work Health & Safety Manager Nicole Le Grange said the cross-collaboration on the ‘Respect is Everyone’s Role’ campaign demonstrates the need to address the incidence of aggression and abuse towards Council workers which has increased across the region in the last 12 months.

“Customer aggression is affecting staff at worksites, in public spaces, and even via email and over the phone,” said Ms Le Grange.

“When I spoke with my counterparts at other local Councils, it was clear that Council employees across the Hunter are all experiencing this type of customer behaviour.

“Together, we developed the ‘Respect is Everyone’s Role’ campaign, to raise awareness of the issue and reinforce that everyone deserves a safe work environment.

“There’s over 5,400 Hunter Council employees who proudly live, work, and socialise across our local communities. Working in local government in a variety of roles, these workers aim to meet community needs and expectations through quality service and by upholding organisational values and policies,” she added.

The campaign features 24 real Council staff from across the Hunter, on posters and social media tiles, and invites organisations, public figures and community members to commit their respect.

“Members of Council teams may be customer service officers, lifeguards, road crew, rangers and parking inspectors, but first and foremost, they’re people,” said Ms Le Grange.

“By showing the human side of our diverse workforce, and sharing their interests, hobbies and passions, we want to remind everyone that aggression is not acceptable behaviour.

“Let’s all commit to being respectful together,” she added.

This joint initiative is supported by Cessnock City Council, City of Newcastle, Dungog Shire Council, Maitland City Council, Muswellbrook Shire Council, Port Stephens Council, Singleton Council, Upper Hunter Shire Council, and the United Services Union.

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