Corkman pub demolition leads to tougher legislation

13 December, 2016 by The Shout Team

By Vanessa Cavasinni, editor Australian Hotelier

In response to the demolition of the Corkman Irish Pub in Carlton, legislation has been introduced into Victorian Parliament seeking tougher penalties for illegal building work.

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The Building Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Bill 2016 was introduced into State Parliament last week. Among the reforms of the legislation are larger fines and jail time for anyone found guilty of illegal building work.

The Bill was introduced in response to both the Lacrosse apartment building fire in late 2014 – where the building’s cladding was not up to code to prevent the fire spreading – and the illegal demolition of the Corkman pub in Carlton in October. The pub was demolished by developers who purchased the site in 2014. The owners continued unapproved demolition works after a Stop Work order was issued, and then illegally removed debris from the site, which included asbestos, and dumped it elsewhere without permission.

The Hon. Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning, introduced the Bill into Parliament, after widespread outrage about the brazen demolition of the pub.

“We said we would review penalties after the Corkman pub was demolished and after the Lacrosse fire so that fines are a deterrent and not the cost of doing business in Victoria.”

The reforms introduced include:

  • A maximum of five years jail or a $93,276 fine for an individual and $466,380 for a company for anyone who orders or carries out building work without a permit
  • New injunction powers allowing courts to make any orders considered appropriate to intervene and  prevent any building work which contravenes the Act – for example, to halt building or demolition work, require rectification works or a rebuild, or stop someone operating as a building practitioner
  • New entry and information gathering powers to monitor compliance to building regulations

As the Bill’s measures will not be retrospective, the tougher penalties will not apply to Stefce Kutlesovski and Raman Shaqiri, owners of the Corkman site, however they are being compelled to rebuild the pub.

Debate on the Bill has been adjourned until 21 December.