Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Swan Hill targets seasonal worker housing compliance

Swan Hill Rural City Council will undertake a campaign targeting non-compliant seasonal workers accommodation across the municipality this November and December in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture.

Council says the compliance campaign aims to assist farmers who provide accommodation for seasonal workers become compliant and consistent with relevant legislation.

An independent Building Surveyor and Environmental Health consultant will assist Council to undertake inspections.

Council’s Director of Development and Planning, Heather Green said the project was an important first step in increasing the number of safe and secure beds available for seasonal workers across the municipality

“Council acknowledges the important role that farmers play in driving the local agriculture economy,” said Ms Green.

“By supporting local farmers to provide safe accommodation to their workforce, legally, it enables continued growth in our already successful agriculture sector.”

Ms Green said Council was now asking property owners to come forward if they think they might be operating without appropriate approvals.

“We will work with property owners, giving them time and encouragement to comply with health, building and planning rules.”

“If property owners or operators do not make changes to comply, we may take legal action, which can include orders to make safety upgrades, a ban on people occupying homes or fines.

“Community members are also encouraged to speak up if they are concerned about potential illegal accommodation in their neighborhood,” said Ms Green.

She said that Council would prioritise inspections based on the each properties level of risk to the tenants.

“We will consider a number of things when inspecting properties, including those related to overcrowding, disease control, maintenance, fire safety and water supply,” Ms Green said.

Two online information sessions are scheduled for Wednesday 10 November (7pm – 8pm) and Wednesday 8 December (7pm – 8pm) to help answer any questions residents may have – register your attendance on Council’s Let’s Talk page.

More information can be found on Councils Let’s Talk page https://letstalk.swanhill.vic.gov.au/

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