Greens welcome heftier penalties to protect WA’s heritage

The Greens in State Parliament supported increased penalties of up to $1million for illegal demolition and unauthorised development of heritage-listed properties in Western Australia and welcome today’s announcement by the Government.

“This is a significant step towards protecting our built heritage because existing fines were not acting as a deterrent. It was argued that some owners and developers regarded the fines as a cost of doing business - and a rather small one at that,” said Greens’ Heritage spokesperson Hon. Lynn MacLaren MLC.

“The Greens would go further, to include new penalties for demolition by neglect, and we look forward to this year’s promised comprehensive review of the 1990 Heritage Act,” added Ms MacLaren.

Abandonment and neglect is the second largest threat to our built heritage, according to a July 2010 report by the Australian Council of National Trusts.

“You don’t have to look very far to find examples illustrating this in Western Australia. The recent highly publicised state of the Guildford Hotel is just one example,” Ms MacLaren concluded.

The Bill’s passage was one of those rare occasions when all parties united to pass this legislation.

(1)    Media release: Heftier penalties to protect WA’s heritage from illegal demolition and development, http://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/Results.aspx?ItemID=137521