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Grocon, signage firm face millions in fines

Melbourne builder Grocon and a signage firm will face millions of dollars in fines, the Victorian WorkCover Authority has said, after it laid criminal charges in court on Monday over the deaths of three young people killed after a wall collapsed on Swanston Street last year.

A spokesman for the workcover authority on Tuesday morning said multiple charges had been laid in the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

These amounted to a total of 9000 penalty points. When the charges are added together, they total the equivalent of around $9 million.

Grocon has been contacted for comment on the charges.

The three pedestrians were killed last March when the wall fell down during high winds, which police believe gusted up to 100km/h.

The wall collapse killed Bridget Jones, her brother Alexander and academic Dr Marie-Faith Fiawoo.


The wall was the boundary fence of the vacant former CUB Brewery site, owned by Grocon and being developed as an apartment and retail complex.

Engineering and architectural experts believe a Grocon hoarding bolted to the wall may have acted like a sail or parachute, potentially contributing to the collapse.

Grocon knocked down the remaining sections of the wall in the hours after the incident.

Grocon executive chairman Daniel Grollo acknowledged that the Workcover Authority had taken action against his firm over the wall's collapse.

"We don’t yet know the specific detail of what is being alleged against Grocon or the Melbourne signage company responsible for erecting the advertising sign on the wall and need further information before we can properly respond," he said.

He said the company's "thoughts and sympathies are with the families who so tragically lost their loved ones".

A two-week inquest into the deaths has been scheduled for next month.