Bringing the bulldozers in at the dead of night to knock over heritage homes in WA suburbs – a recent demolition on a restored home in Claremont springs to mind – has become just that bit tougher, thanks to heftier penalties introduced on Wednesday in State Parliament. Until recently the previous maximum penalty was a paltry $5,000, although in 2005 an additional penalty of $50,000 was imposed by the Planning and Development Act. Considering many new developments cost several millions and more, even $55,000 is a small added expense to pay for demolition.
John Castrilli, Minister for Heritage (among other portfolios) has just introduced legislation to the Legislative Assembly to increase penalties by up to $1million for illegally demolishing or damaging State-registered heritage properties. The legislation, which was approved by the Assembly, now only requires approval from the Legislative Council to be enacted.
In a recent ministerial media release (24/11) Mr Castrilli said, “the amendments would ensure meaningful protection for heritage properties ensuring their retention for current and future generations of West Australians.”