Fuel thieves hindering Council’s recovery efforts

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STOLEN FUEL from a crucial Tweed Shire Council excavator is costing time and money as well as throwing a spanner in the works for the recovery effort.

Council said in a media statement the thieve(s) syphoned the fuel tank of an excavator working to replace culverts at Palmvale Road, Palmvale.

Council said the situation was made worse when the thieves left the fuel cap off allowing the remainder of the fuel to be contaminated by rainwater, requiring the machine to be serviced.

Possibly those same thieves struck again on Wednesday, April 26, during the evening. However, this time they may have taken more than diesel, council said, after crews could not restart the machine despite refuelling it.

Flood damage estimates for the Tweed Shire sit between $50 and $60 million. The figure for roads and bridges alone is $20 million.

“This is deplorable and absolutely gutting for the men on site and in the workshop,” said Manager Infrastructure Delivery Tim Mackney.

“When you appreciate that we lost one-quarter of our plant and fleet, plus had our entire fuel stores contaminated by floodwater when the Buchanan Street Depot went under, to now rob our crews of the practical work they can achieve to repair roads and bridges and support the community recovery is a low blow.”

“Adding another tank of fuel to the bill may seem insignificant but when the theft of fuel and damage to plant puts a crew out of work for a day or two that affects everyone.”

Council will be unable to get back to full strength until its damaged fleet and plant can be replaced. But, as much as it can, crews this week will return to their normal construction work program as contractors continue the flood clean-up.

Crews will be back at Palmvale Road, Palmvale, to complete installation of new culverts. They’ll also restart work on the Blackspot Program on Clothiers Creek Road, realigning a curve between the Pacific Motorway and Wallum Court, Clothiers Creek.

They’ll also be back at Moolau Avenue, Tweed Heads, upgrading drainage and the road pavement and providing a formal turnaround area at Ducat Park.

Work will also restart on reconstructing the road at Airfield Avenue, Murwillumbah.

Council urges members of the public to report any suspicious behaviour at our work sites after hours by noting a vehicle description and registration number and calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Council’s after hours number on 1800 818 326.