New penalties will hit vandals hard

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PEOPLE who damage heritage places and objects in Canberra will face stronger penalties when new legislation is introduced later this year, says Heritage Minister Mick Gentleman. 

He says vandal might also be required to repair damage.

The legislation will give the Heritage Council the power to issue “repair damage directions” to people to repair damage they’ve done to heritage places and objects, such as heritage houses and Aboriginal cultural sites.

“The ACT government is proposing an infringement notice scheme where compliance officers can issue an immediate $1000 fine for damage to a heritage place, regardless of whether it can be repaired,” Mr Gentleman says.

“On-the-spot fines would act as a deterrent to discourage people from causing damage deliberately or accidentally. The amendments would enable immediate action when a heritage place or object is damaged.

“We want to give the Heritage Council authority to issue a direction where there is an imminent threat to the heritage significance of a place or object. The current threshold wording of ‘serious’ would be removed so heritage directions will be able to be issued for minor to moderate offences.

“A new compliance policy will be released later this year to guide the Heritage Council and compliance officers on how and when to use the new compliance tools.”

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