Community & Business

7 September, 2023

Loader theft costs council

TWO expensive pieces of plant equipment will be replaced and partly paid for by Tablelands Regional Council’s insurer, after one was stolen and the other involved in an “incident”.

Loader theft costs council - feature photo

Council was told that a Track Loader was stolen from the Herberton landfill on 15 May, councillors to ask questions about how the machine could have been driven off from the facility.

Water and waste manager Bruce Gardiner told council all plant was fitted with GPS systems and that the keys had definitely not been inside the machine the night it was taken.

“The keys were not in the machine – it appears someone had a standard ‘Cat’ key, drove it to the fence then the GPS was turned off,” he said.

“They must have loaded onto a truck or something and who knows where it went.”

Cr David Clifton said they must be very “organised thieves” to have such tools at hand.

TRC owns five compact tractor loaders for use across water, wastewater, waste and roads and projects teams, with two of the machines having been flagged for replacement. They were purchased in 2015 and have a useful life of eight years.

After the theft, council officers lodged an insurance claim and settled for $38,590.

Two new tractor loaders will now be purchased at a cost of $260,532.

The 2023-24 capital program has no approved budget for the replacement, but funds that were earmarked for the replacement of two SES vehicles will now be used to buy the new track loader.

Council also approved the purchase of a new $231,770 Caterpillar multi tyre roller after one of the three it owns was involved in an accident.

The incident caused extensive damage to the cabin and roller protection and with the repair bill predicted to be more than $145,000, the decision was made not to repair the machine.

“As Unit 224 was a 2018 model, council’s insurer investigated valuations for like for like rollers of similar age,” report to council stated.

“The analysis concluded it not economical for repair as the money spent to reinstate the unit to safe working order would not extend its useful life.”

Council’s insurers settled on $114,500, leaving a shortfall for the replacement unit of $117,270.


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