PENALTIES for illegal demolition and unauthorised development of heritage-listed properties are to be significantly increased by the West Australian Government.
Heritage Minister John Castrilli and Planning Minister John Day have announced amendments to the Heritage Act that will see increased penalties of up to $1 million for illegal works and a $50,000 daily penalty for continuing offences.
Persons convicted of such an offence may also be subject to a development moratorium being placed on the property for up to 10 years and restoration orders, where the offender is obliged to make good the unauthorised works.
Presently, the Heritage Act provides a maximum fine of $5,000 for damaging or despoiling a place listed on the State Heritage Register.
Mr Castrilli said the amendment would ensure meaningful protection for the 1,300 properties currently listed in the State Register of Heritage Places.
"Current penalties for illegal works on heritage-listed places are extremely low and offer little deterrence to deliberate destruction," he said.
"With this legislation, properties which have been recognised for their heritage value through entry on the State Register of Heritage Places will be assured meaningful protection for current and future generations."
The increased penalties apply to damaging or despoiling a State-registered place without a valid approval under sections 11 and 78 of the Heritage Act.
Planning Minister John Day also announced amendments to the Planning and Development Act which will result in increased penalties for unauthorised development
"Initial penalties will increase from $50,000 to $200,000 and increased daily fines rise from $5,000 to $25,000," he said.
Mr Day said these amendments applied more generally to unauthorised development to any property, including heritage-valued properties listed on municipal inventories protected by local governments.