By Jessica Howard
An opportunistic roadside vendor has been fined for the second time in two years for using public land to illegally sell fruit and vegetables.
A Moorabool Shire Council community safety officer observed the vendor, Damien Condon operating a temporary food premises at the Myrniong road reserve on the Old Western Highway on January 14 and July 8 this year.
Condon allegedly conducted trading and erected advertising signs without obtaining a permit in accordance with the Moorabool Shire Council General Local Law 2010.
The accused was summoned to the Bacchus Marsh Magistrate’s Court on Friday October 27, however after failing to appear, the matter was heard ex-parte before Magistrate Mark Stratmann.
The court heard that on both days, the community safety officer observed a number of handmade signs erected along the Western Freeway, which advertised fruit and vegetables for sale and indicated to exit the Freeway near Myrniong.
When approaching the road reserve, the community safety officer observed the accused engaging with customers in what appeared to be the sale of fruit, vegetables and eggs.
The court heard Condon had set up a table behind the utility tray of his vehicle, with white corflute signs advertising the price of goods.
The accused was issued with an advisory letter, an infringement and a Notice to Comply to cease itinerant trading without a permit.
Satwinder Sandhu, Moorabool Shire Council, General Manager Growth and Development, said temporary food businesses must be registered and comply with the Food Act and Food Standards Codes.
“Food safety is imperative in keeping our community safe,” he said.
“Those who operate on a road or land under the control of Council must also obtain a permit to do so”.
The court heard that on December 4 2015, Condon was convicted for similar offences after illegally trading on the Western Highway in Melton West and Rockbank.
At the time, Condon appeared in the Sunshine Magistrates Court and was convicted and fined $2,500.
Alison May of Elliot Stafford and Associates, representing Moorabool Shire Council, told Magistrate Stratmann that the accused had a “flagrant disregard for both Council and the court”.
She said the maximum penalty for the offending was $60,000.
The accused was convicted and fined an aggregate amount of $5,000 plus costs of $880 to Moorabool Shire Council.
Mr Sandhu said in determining whether to grant a permit, Council must consider a “number of issues in accordance with our General Local Law and any other legislation before issuing the permit.”