Public Housing Arson Conviction Fri 28 September 2012 Lynden Pennicott Acting Director, Housing Tasmania Housing Tasmania Acting Director, Lynden Pennicott, today encouraged Tasmanians to contact police with information about arsons following the sentencing yesterday of an arsonist who set fire to a public housing property. Justice Peter Evans handed down a prison sentence of two years to Tony Matthew White in the Supreme Court in Hobart for convictions including a public housing arson committed during August 2011. "Arson attacks on any property are senseless crimes," Mr Pennicott said. "When arsonists attack public housing properties, we are effectively all victims. "Taxpayers foot the bill for an arson attack while Tasmanians who are in need of support and a roof over their heads are denied a home as a result of these crimes. "Housing Tasmania would rather invest the significant dollar cost of arson back into better outcomes for our tenants, and increasing the supply of affordable housing." Mr Pennicott said Housing Tasmania continued to take a community-based approach to arson attacks on its housing stock. "This approach is seeing more information forthcoming to police and has helped see more and more convictions against these crimes. "I am pleased that the individual responsible in this case has been identified and is being made to pay for his crime. "This fire caused almost $44 000 damage. Housing Tasmania will now pursue this individual for payment of the compensation that the court has ordered." Mr Pennicott underlined that people who choose to destroy public housing forfeited the right to enjoy the benefits of public housing. "Housing Tasmania excludes those convicted of burning down its properties from residing in them for five years," he said. For the twelve months from July 2011, 58 properties were damaged or destroyed by arson statewide at a cost of $2.373 million. This represents a 59 per cent reduction from the last financial year when the cost of arson reached $5.760 million. Anyone who has information about an arson attack on a Housing Tasmania property should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. You may be eligible for a reward of up to $10 000.