Backyard blues fixed

NEIGHBOURHOOD disputes are finding resolution like never before.

The NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos claims the Community Justice Centres – used to settle common arguments like barking dogs and trees encroaching over fences – have been a tremendous success.

“In the past four years, Community Justice Centres have continued to achieve a settlement in 80 per cent of mediations, with most cases being resolved within 30 days,” Mr Hatzistergos said.

“Mediation provides a safe environment for people to raise their concerns and to listen to the views of others and this forum can offer a greater range of solutions than those available at court.

“Results indicate that mediation where parties meet face-to-face to discuss and resolve the disputes themselves, with the assistance of a third party is far more effective and long lasting than court solutions.”

Mr Hatzistergos said neighbours feuding over barking dogs are increasingly turning to mediation to settle their disputes.

“The NSW Government’s Community Justice Centres recorded a 30 per cent increase in mediations between neighbours over animal nuisance issues in 2008-09,” Mr Hatzistergos said.

“There were 378 animal nuisance mediations, with most concerning noisy dogs or owners failing to clean up after their pet.

“In many cases, residents were unaware that their dog was barking while they were at work prior to the mediation being organised.

“Resolutions have resulted in owners taking their dog for more walks and enrolling the animal in obedience classes to address the barking problem.”

Community Justice Centres dealt with 2300 disputes between neighbours in 2008-09 including: • 591 fence disputes; • 447 tree disputes; • 378 animal disputes; • 304 disputes over the behaviour of children; • and 169 disputes over the use of common facilities.

Community Justice Centres mediation services are available to all communities in NSW.

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