Sweeper just can't brush off abuse

GOING to work has become an experience that makes the hair stand up on the back of a street sweeper operator's neck.

The Tweed Shire Council driver wonders each morning what will come out of the pre-dawn darkness at him next, following ball-bearing and egg attacks in recent weeks.

The man, who wants his identity to remain anonymous, has even copped threatening verbal abuse by Kingscliff CBD residents, which led to street sweeping on Marine Parade being cancelled.

“Throwing eggs, ball-bearings, verbal abuse - those three things that have happened are enough to have doubt in your mind when you go out again that something else will happen.”

“I would like to go to work, do my job and go home.”

He says council workers deserve more respect. “We (council workers) cop enough bagging as it is,” he said.

“No one wants to be scared to come to work,” he said.

However, since the abuse went public last week, the drivers have found some support from the community.

Ian Kite, Council's Works Manager, said most people understood the need for clean streets.

“Since the article, people have been talking to (the driver) and giving him a bit of support. It is fair to say most people realise it is an essential service,” Mr Kite said.

He called for tolerance, saying early morning was the only time the streets could be cleaned.

“We have tried different hours and have tried to leave it as late as possible, but we still have the same problem.

“As soon as people get out on the streets and the cars get about, the guys just can't do their jobs.”



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