The Sunshine Coast Regional Council Local Laws (Local Laws) contain laws that regulate certain activities on Council controlled or owned land and impose offences where a person undertakes those activates without approval or without a required permit. Where an offence against the Local Laws has occurred the Magistrates Court can order fines and make orders for compensation where a person is found guilty and convicted of breaching those laws.
Areas designated as protected by the local government for cultivation of vegetation or protection of flora and fauna will see a person before the Magistrates Court if they breach the Local Law by undertaking prohibited or restricted activity within those areas. Examples of prohibited activities include fishing, diving or jumping from or on a structure, building or bridge where signed or advertising a vehicle for sale. Prohibited activities include abseiling or rock climbing, camping or lighting of fires in areas where it is not designated to do so.
Depending on the type of activity and the local government area the Court is able to order maximum fines up to$5,890 in some cases. For example placing landfill or dumping rubbish in council controlled areas, or keeping certain kinds of restricted animals are prohibited and may result in the a summons being issued to appear before the Court.
More serious fines up to a maximum of $100,130 can be imposed by the court where a person without lawful excuse, interferes with vegetation in a local government controlled area, for instance by clearing or destroying vegetation. The court is also able to order a person is to pay compensation for the rehabilitation of that land and other costs in rectification. If the interference is done recklessly such as for the purpose improving views the courts have the discretion to impose higher fines and record convictions.
It is important before undertaking any activating in a local government area that you understand what restrictions may be in place, such as observing signs or making suitable inquiries with the Council first. For activities such as clearing or interfering with vegetation on local government land inquiries need to be made with the Council about what activities are permitted and that ensure all necessary permits have been obtained.