Hepburn Shire Council

Government and Local Council


Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Victoria, Australia, Hepburn Shire Council stands as a beacon of community governance and stewardship. Encompassing a diverse array of townships, including the iconic Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, the council serves as the administrative hub for this vibrant region.

Renowned for its rich cultural heritage, thriving arts scene, and natural mineral springs, Hepburn Shire Council embraces a commitment to sustainable development, fostering a harmonious balance between environmental preservation and progressive growth.


To provide a practical skills training program to help the waste management team at Hepburn Shire Council manage aggressive residents who use their services. The team had a wide gap of skill competency from those who had experience and just needed learning reinforcement, to those newly in the role.

The objective for the training was two-fold:

  1. Education and application.
    Upskill on the knowledge, understanding and practical response strategies to support deescalating a range of aggressive and difficult behaviours.
  2. Team Consistency
    Adopt best practice response strategies as a team collective when handling aggressive and emotional customers.


Participants included supervisors, service staff and internal management who operate either face to face at the waste station or in the administration office handling complaints via the phone.


After pre-consultation with the manager and supervisors we mapped out a workshop format for the team based on the most practical and relevant strategies of de-escalation from our MARATE Skills program. Hepburn Shire also helped us develop real world scenarios based on common behavioural challenges in the day-to-day operation to support the relevance of the learning for the Waste Management Team.

With a mix of skill levels, experience and competency in the team we were able to observe firsthand in the workshop where some of these gaps existed. The activities and exercises integrated into the learning helped bridge the gap between understanding and practical application.



  • An increase in the overall team confidence to manage heightened state individuals based on the managers post course feedback.
  • An increase in the shared knowledge of best practice responses for the team. An example of this was adopting the MARATE skills strategy of how to say no effectively as a team.
  • A benefit to the resilience levels of the team around healthier self-management practices under stress incidents.
  • The tailored scenarios helped all participants to take the learning and apply it to their daily interactions simply. This information was obtained through pots course feedback.
  • We provided a report that recommended areas of further improvement for the team post the training to assist them in their ongoing goal of using a consistent response approach for de-escalation.


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