Stanthorpe pair fined $23,000 for fire safety breach
A PAIR of Stanthorpe residents has been whacked with $23,000 in fines after a Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) investigation uncovered illegal budget accommodation practices.
QFES successfully prosecuted Jack Cheng-Chieh Huang and Chia-Ming Lu in separate matters for a string of building fire safety offences at properties they managed in the township.
Stanthorpe Magistrates Court found that both men failed to install suitable safety measures to account for the number of people living at their properties.
Mr Huang was fined $17,000 plus costs after pleading guilty to 22 breaches of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 and Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008.
Mr Lu was handed a $6,000 fine plus costs after pleading guilty to 10 breaches of the Act and Regulation.
In both cases, Mr Huang and Mr Lu failed to maintain a fire exit to standard, neglected to install emergency lighting and early warning systems, and did not prepare fire safety management plans.
Acting Magistrate Jason Schubert highlighted the breaches as serious matters when handing down his sentence.
QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said she welcomed the ruling as a win for public safety and for law-abiding accommodation providers.
"Building fire safety requirements are in place to protect lives and property," Ms Carroll said.
"When budget accommodation providers flout these requirements, they jeopardise the safety of their tenants and undercut providers doing the right thing."
Ms Carroll said QFES investigators were constantly on the lookout for unsafe budget accommodation practices and would continue to prosecute flagrant building fire safety breaches.
"If budget accommodation operators think they can gamble with the lives of people, I've got news for them: expect a knock on the door from our investigators," Ms Carroll said.
"We will work with budget accommodation providers where inadvertent mistakes have been made, but QFES will not tolerate breaches if providers deliberately try and shirk their responsibilities."