Greens propose big fines for neglecting heritage

Owners of neglected heritage-listed buildings would face fines of up to $1 million under legislative changes being proposed by the WA Greens.

Greens MP Alison Xamon says her party wants to make neglecting a heritage property in Western Australia an offence under law.

She announced the plans during a rally yesterday at the historic Guildford Hotel in Perth's east.

The heritage-listed building was gutted by fire in 2008.

The roof of the structure has not been replaced.

Ms Xamon says only tougher laws and stiff penalties will compel people to fix such properties.

"There has been in the past, people who have owned heritage buildings and have chosen to do nothing with them and allowed them to deteriorate to the point where they lose their heritage value," Ms Xamon said.

"Most urgently we need to see the introduction of the offence of demolition by neglect." "We also need to substantially increase the penalties associated with such an offence," she said.

"That should be enough to compel owners to do the right thing and undertake the necessary repairs." The part-owner of the Guildford Hotel, Luke Martino, says suggestions that the building has been neglected are unfair.

"We've been working from day one to maintain the site," he said.

"First of all, to clear it and get the heritage architects involved." "The only thing that's left now are the walls and they've been reinforced by scaffolding and the integrity of the site has not been compromised at all over four years," Mr Martino said.

He insists he is doing everything possible to restore the hotel to its former state and locking in tenants is the next step.

"Once we have the leases in place, then I think we can apply for a building licence but there are too many variables to answer when that timing will be," he said.

"Once those steps are made, I think we'll be in good shape to go forward."

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