Victorian election fallout: Acquired homes in limbo

Mayor Jackie Fristacky celebrates a possible end to the Link with residents of Collingwood. Picture: Rob Leeson
Mayor Jackie Fristacky celebrates a possible end to the Link with residents of Collingwood. Picture: Rob Leeson

Herald Sun: Victorian election fallout: Acquired homes in limbo. Michelle Ainsworth (November 30, 2014)

Residents in the path of the $6.8 billion East West Link are split as to whether Labor’s victory will save their homes from the bulldozers.

More than 100 inner-city residents have had their homes compulsorily acquired for the tunnel, including properties in Collingwood, Parkville, Clifton Hill and Kensington.

The planning process to purchase the properties has already gone ahead and all are in negotiations with the Linking Melbourne Authority over compensation.

Premier-elect Daniel Andrews has previously said homeowners could return their compensation payments and keep their homes, in a straightforward deal, once the contracts were terminated.

There are provisions within Victoria’s acquisition laws to return acquired properties but it is not known how many residents would want their homes back and what would happen to those not returned.

Mr Andrews has not said whether a Labor Government would sell unwanted houses or keep them.

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Collingwood resident Mary Fenelon said it would be too late for her as she was due to move out of her home on December 9.

“I don’t trust the ALP, I’ve lost my house, I can’t get it back because I’ve settled,” Ms Fenelon said.

Her Ballarat St home was bought after a portion of her backyard was taken for the tunnel entrance.

She said she would not seek to get it back though.

“Because the Labor Party’s in, doesn’t mean they won’t build the tunnel,” she said.

Residents Against the Tunnel spokeswoman, Collingwood resident Harriet Mantell, was yesterday celebrating Labor’s win.

“In terms of the East West Link it’s a significant victory and I think that we can expect Labor will keep to its word and not build it,” Ms Mantell said.

“We are going to make very sure that the Linking Melbourne Authority works as hard and as fast to undo this nightmare of compulsory acquisitions, as it did to compulsorily acquire those houses in the first place.

“They moved like greased lightning to be able to acquire them, they should now move like greased lightning to unacquire them and give them back to the people that originally owned them.”

She said it had come too late for some people who had already moved on.

michelle.ainsworth@news.com.au

Twitter: @mlainsworth

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