Cleaner faces violence in CBD
A LONE Rockhampton street cleaner is being forced to run the gauntlet amid increasingly violent and drunken youths staggering out of city nightclubs before the sun rises.
Yesterday councillor Stephen Schwarten joined Rockhampton’s Australian Workers’ Union organiser Peter Ward to shine the light on the plight of a Rockhampton Regional Council worker.
It’s the worker’s job to clean CBD footpaths after drunken revellers have partied the night away.
As the worker tidies away the mountain of discarded bottles, cups, papers, cans, vomit and other less pleasant items from the city walkways, he also has to stay out of the firing line.
Usually the worker has a colleague with him in a “buddy system”, but with the colleague on leave, he’s having to do the job alone.
Cr Schwarten and Mr Ward said the worker was being put in a highly vulnerable position.
On the weekend they went along to have a look at life on the streets as the city’s nightclub’s close.
“While working away with earmuffs on and the sound of a noisy blower, the worker is surrounded by intoxicated youth making their way from venue to venue or trying to get home,” Mr Ward said.
“This leaves the obvious risk of becoming a target.
“We preach to our youth safety in numbers and not to walk alone.
“Why is it any different for workers?”
Cr Schwarten has written to council management raising his concern.
He said he saw many youths clearly under the influence of substances.
“In an unprecedented era of increasingly violent attacks on innocent people, I wish to make plain my view that the council worker is in a position where he is highly vulnerable to such an attack,” Cr Schwarten said.
“I thinks it’s simply too dangerous to continue as things presently are.”
A statement from Rockhampton Regional Council said council ensured foot and car security guard patrols were on site in the Rockhampton CBD early on Saturday and Sunday mornings and CCTV coverage was provided on an ongoing basis.
“There are several processes in place which allow council employees the opportunity to raise issues, particularly through our Workplace Health & Safety Unit,” the statement said. “Mr Ward is aware of council’s procedures and knowing this he should encourage members to use the effective systems and processes that are in place.”