SHUT: The Gatton building that has been shut down as an accomodation venue because of safety concerns.
SHUT: The Gatton building that has been shut down as an accomodation venue because of safety concerns. Ali Kuchel

Potential Queensland backpacker death-trap shut

A POTENTIAL backpacker death-trap in Gatton has been shut down following Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) action in the Supreme Court.

QFES Commissioner Katarina Carroll said an illegal and unsafe budget accommodation building in Gatton has been prohibited from operating.

QFES won an interim injunction which prohibited accommodation being provided at the premises before the injunction was made permanent.

"The threat to life at these premises was so serious that QFES officers decided to take action in the Supreme Court as a matter of urgency, to ensure the building owners did not continue to provide accommodation to any person," Ms Carroll said.

"Due to the construction of the two storey building, guests would be faced with unprotected and extended travel distances when exiting the premises, as well as a lack of smoke alarms and emergency lighting.

"If a fire started at this building, our officers were concerned the people inside would have had absolutely no chance of escape.

"We're confident that the court action will prevent a serious tragedy and protect at risk persons like transient workers and international tourists working in the horticulture industry from serious risks such as injury or death."

Ms Carroll said she was satisfied with the successful outcome, which prohibits the building's owners from providing illegal budget accommodation at the site permanently.

"This sends a strong message to those individuals and companies who put profit before people and operate budget accommodation that does not have appropriate fire safety systems," she said.

"People operating budget accommodation buildings have the lives of others in their hands and cannot ignore vital fire safety requirements.

"QFES is serious about building fire safety in Queensland and today's action is a demonstration of our commitment."

"Budget accommodation fire safety standards in Queensland are some of the toughest in the country and owners who fail to comply could face maximum fines of over $200,000 and face possible imprisonment."



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