Neighbours – you can’t live without them
I guess you’ve landed on this page because someone or something in your neighbourhood is driving you crazy and you want to know what you can do about it. There are many laws relating to neighbour noise, smells, fences, trees, trespass and abusive behaviour which protect your rights to being able to enjoy your home. These laws are mostly made by state, territory or local government, which means the exact same laws don’t apply across Australia.
So below you just need to click the link to your problem and then your state (or territory) to get the specifics on the law.
Remember, while there is more than one way to approach neighbourly dilemmas, you should choose an approach to solve your problem, not make it worse. If you get into a major fight with your neighbour, it has the potential to impact on you and your family’s health and wellbeing for many years. Above all, you should ensure that you use the law to solve your problems, rather than taking the law into your own hands.
With this in mind, I want to tell you a short story.
Once upon a time we lived in communities where it really paid dividends to be kind and considerate to your neighbours. There was an abundant community spirit that often extended to looking out for your elderly or infirm neighbours; keeping an eye on a neighbour’s house if they were away; occasionally babysitting their kids; and the mutual celebrating of birthdays and public holidays with neighbourhood parties. It was an age where people seemed to have more time and less pressure in their lives.
Now don’t get me wrong, wonderful things like this still happen in many neighbourhoods across the country but neighbourhood anger seems to be definitely on the rise. People are working longer hours, paying off bigger mortgages and collecting more ‘stuff’ and fake status. Our media is never far away from lecturing us about our right to entitlement.
The catch cry “you can have it all” is everywhere in today’s world but the end result of this is often a self-centred attitude that results in big problems with neighbours, whether it’s in high rise apartments or on country farms.
The moral here, before we get to the info and the attack plan, is that taking a little time to get to know your neighbours can often built bridges that really help smooth the communication lines when a problem arises. Judging from a distance is a very easy game plan but getting to know someone you live next to can be very beneficial to your health and happiness. We are all diverse and can learn a lot from each other.
If you need some mediation to work out a problem with your neighbour, here are your state wide contacts:
Community justice/neighbourhood mediation centres
New South Wales
Community Justice Centres
Freecall: 1800 990 777
Neighbour Mediation Services
Department of Justice & Attorney General
Phone: (07) 3239 6007
Community Justice Centre
Phone: 1800 000 473
Dispute Settlement Centre
Freecall: 1800 658 528
Conflict Resolution Service
Phone: (02) 6162 4050
Citizen’s Advice Bureau
Phone: (08) 9221 5711
SA.GOV.AU (Service SA)
Phone: 132 324
For Tasmania, try Relationships Australia who provide mediation services for troubled neighbours.