Evidence Of Widespread Contempt For Others
'Whatever happened to considerate neighbours?' The Sunday Mail 18/4/2004

30,000 complaints signal an end to suburban tolerance

We are fast becoming a nation of inconsiderate neighbours. Raging parties, drunken youths, barking dogs and noisy air conditioners are raising the hackles of Queensland residents. So if you've suspected your neighbours are becoming a little less considerate, you'd be right. Experts say residents are becoming so rude that our neighbourhoods are at risk of turning into war zones.

The Sunday Mail can reveal fed-up residents made almost 30,000 complaints about their neighbours to Brisbane City Council from January, 2002 to December, 2003.

Noisy and wandering animals, loud stereos, pool pumps and noisy air conditioners make up the bulk of complaints. Residential construction work also featured.

Etiquette-and-manners expert June Dally-Watkins said humans were becoming more 'animalistic'.

"We're not as considerate as we used to be," Ms Dally Watkins said. "Once upon a time, we were brought up to be considerate neighbours — but we have since become the 'me generation'. Being a bad neighbour creates tension and this sort of behaviour, in the big picture, starts wars. Today, we risk having neighbourhoods at war."

Leigh Park, a spokeswoman for a community group in Brisbane, the Walter Taylor South Action Group, said renovation noise was a "big problem" in the suburbs.

"Some residents are having to put up with seven houses being renovated in their street at the one time," Ms Park said. "It's something which our members are complaining about all the time. It's becoming a huge issue."

The Sunday Mail has collected a litany of neighbourhood complaints from angry residents across many Brisbane-area suburbs. They include:

A spokeswoman for Brisbane City Council urged residents to be considerate and discuss issues with their neighbours before reaching for the phone to lodge a formal complaint. Council officers are able to issue on-the-spot fines of $150 for noise infringements. In the case of noise complaints, officers may also conduct noise monitoring from the complainant's residence.