Byron’s crackdown on illegal hostels thrown to public
The Byron Shire Council is urging the public to report dodgy operators after the owner of an illegal hostel that housed as many as 20 backpackers was fined $11,000.
The man who used an industrial unit in Byron Arts and Industry Estate as a backpackers appeared in court last week and has also been ordered to pay Byron Shire Council’s $1,500 legal costs.
The council’s governance manager, Ralph James told ABC News that illegal hostels often pose serious fire-safety and health risks and will not be tolerated.
“Our request to members of the public is, if you suspect that a property is being used as an unapproved backpacker hostel, or if you are of the view that there is any kind of unapproved activity going on, give us a call and we’ll look at it,” he said.
“Unapproved hostels haven’t been through the rigour of assessment.
“They haven’t been looked at in respect of fire safety or other aspects of amenities.
“There were upwards of 16 people staying in this place in the Arts and Industry Estate, and the fire safety measures were not anywhere up to scratch and that represented a real danger.”