$1410 fines for owners of overgrown blocks

PROPERTY owners who allow long grass to remain on their vacant blocks will have a hole burnt in their wallets by hefty fines.

Penalty notices for $1410 fines are being issued by south-west councils for owners who ignored earlier instructions to clear fire hazards.

The offending landowners will also cop a bill for a contractor to cut the block. A second round of inspections is likely to reveal further breaches and trigger more fines. Penalties were increased by the state government last year from $244.

Warrnambool City Council fire prevention officer Peter McArdle said almost 400 notices were issued before Christmas and a second round of inspections was carried out after a works deadline of December 24.

Last week the council began deploying contractors to clean up offending properties at the owners’ expense.

Corangamite Shire Council environment and emergency manager Lyall Bond said three fines had been issued already and a second round of inspections was under way.

“Anyone who ignores instructions to clear fire hazards will be liable to a fine and the cost of having a contractor do the work. That bill ranges upwards of $80,” he said.

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