THE residents of Ballan Caledonian Caravan Park are taking the state government to court over what they say is a breach of their human rights.
The move is another salvo in the battle between the low-income residents, the Minister for Environment and Climate Change and his department.
In January, the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE), decided to close the Ballan Caledonian Caravan park on July 25.
The decision prompted widespread fears it would leave the mainly elderly residents homeless.
Some of the residents have been living in the park for nearly 10 years.
The Courier understands the matter will be heard in the Supreme Court on August 14, where the residents will be represented by law firm Clayton Utz and barrister Stephen Donaghue SC and Elizabeth Bennett on a pro bono basis.
The residents are also claiming the government’s decision was not compliant with the Residential Tenancy Act and was taken without giving the park tenants an opportunity to be heard.
Long-term park resident Helen Baker, who suffers from a disability, said she hoped things would soon be resolved.
“We all want to know where we stand and what’s going to happen,” Ms Baker said.
“Because the uncertainty is killing me. I hope I can keep my home.”
The DSE, which manages the land for the state government, is evicting the tenants because the caravan park does not comply with its permanent land-use policy.
In March, a Ballan group submitted a financial plan to the DSE for low-cost environmental homes at the park.
The plan, which is a joint proposal with a group of locals including Ballan Community Health Assistance manager Katie Talty and businessman Paul Tatchell, aims to build low-cost housing at the park.
A state government spokesperson said they were not in a position to make any comments at the present time.
“As the legal proceedings are ongoing, it is not appropriate to comment at this time,” the spokesperson said.
Moorabool Shire mayor Pat Griffins said he wanted to see the matter resolved quickly.
“I wish ... Paul Tatchell’s group would be allowed to get on with their plans,” Cr Griffins said.
“The uncertainty is taking a toll on the residents.”