The steady flow of disciplinary matters being referred to the Board continues to be a significant part of the Board’s activities. For the public, it is important that not only do they have the right to be heard but their concerns are dealt with. To the profession it is important that complaints with substance are appropriately dealt with and standards are upheld so that they in turn can confidently execute their responsibility to the public.
In the year ending 30 June 2021, the Board carried out seven investigations, held four section 86 meetings and held three Professional Conduct Review Panel (PCRP) hearings to determine whether disciplinary action should be taken under section 91 of the Surveyors Act 2003. Typically, the Board is constrained by confidentiality provisions of the Surveyors Act 2003 and is not permitted to explain the outcome of an investigation, reasons for a Board’s decision or inform the public about the findings of a disciplinary matter.
Magistrates Court proceedings are not bound by the same confidentiality provisions of the Surveyors Act 2003. In June 2021, the Board successfully prosecuted an unregistered individual in the Magistrates Court who pleaded guilty to offences of sections 75(1) and 76(1) of the Surveyors Act 2003. The parties agreed that the Board may make the details of the proceedings, including the outcome, publicly available in the following terms:
“Mr Richard Henderson, a 65 year old Sunshine Coast man, has been ordered to pay a penalty of $7,200 to the Surveyors Board of Queensland after pleading guilty to offences under the Surveyors Act 2003 (Qld) of carrying out a cadastral survey while not registered as a cadastral surveyor (section 75(1)) and carrying on a business providing cadastral surveys while not registered as a consulting cadastral surveyor (section 76(1)).
The proceedings were commenced by the Surveyors Board of Queensland in the Magistrates Court of Queensland following an investigation that identified eight instances of Mr Henderson conducting cadastral surveys between July 2019 and January 2020 within south-east Queensland while unregistered, with Mr Henderson carrying on business under the name Focus Survey Group.
In sentencing Mr Henderson, Magistrate Quinn ordered that Mr Henderson pay the Board’s legal costs in the amount of $8,664.40, in addition to the penalty of $7,200.00. Mr Henderson also agreed to pay the Board’s investigation costs of $19,383.00. No conviction was recorded.
David Jenkins, Executive Officer of the Surveyors Board Queensland, said the successful outcome was indicative of the Board’s strong commitment to enforcement of the Surveyors Act.
“The Surveyors Board is dedicated to ensuring that surveys are carried out in a professional and competent way, in order to ensure that the standard of practice within the profession is upheld and to otherwise maintain public confidence”, he said. “The Surveyors Board will continue to monitor and investigate potential breaches of the Act and will commence prosecutions as necessary”.
Members of the public who have information about suspected breaches of the Surveyors Act are encouraged to contact the Surveyors Board on (07) 3839 7744 or at email@example.com“
In July 2021, the Board appointed an investigator to investigate another matter involving an individual providing cadastral services when he was not registered with the Board as a cadastral surveyor. Once the investigator’s report is received, the Board will review the evidence and determine what, if any, further action is required.