Attack on the suburban slobs ...

 TASMANIAN councils will have the power to issue $650 fines for front-yard squalor and hoarding under legislation to be considered next year.

The draft bill allows councils to directly issue the fines to residents harbouring junk and rubbish if it's in public view. 

Under existing laws such matters must be heard in a court before a fine can be issued by a magistrate. 

The legal changes are also expected to make it easier for councils to act on problem sites by broadening what may be considered ``unsightly accumulations''.

The Launceston City Council often receives complaints about cars and their parts strewn across front yards but has had trouble tackling the issue.

``It will be fantastic if there are opportunities for us to improve situations where it's been unsightly,'' Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said.

The difficulty now with derelict properties is they have to pose a public health risk or building safety issue before councils can do something.

Local Government Association of Tasmania chief executive Allan Garcia said the threshold for when a council could act would be lowered under the proposed laws.

But he said it would not lead to councils embarking on street patrols or victimising individuals.

``The councils won't be able to dictate that you've got to put a coat of paint on or you've got to spend $20,000 doing it up,'' Mr Garcia said. 

``What they will be able to say is, `All that garbage in the driveway's got to be removed and that stuff on the lawn has got to go too'.''

The legislation stops short of having a body replacing the Magistrates Court, as sought by the Launceston City Council. 

It had pushed for the Resource Management Planning and Appeals Tribunal to be responsible for hearing appeals.  

Under the proposed laws, people hit with a council fine would be able to appeal before a magistrate.


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