Council’s eviction of campers from park could breach human rights, says social justice lawyer


A social justice advocate has branded the eviction of campers from a park in Bendigo a possible assault on human rights.

The pinnacle of setting and communities on the Metropolis of Better Bendigo (CoGB) says residents shall be made to maneuver out of the Huntly Lions Park in lower than two weeks.

Police and the council went to the park on Monday to ship the message to residents that that they had 14 days to pack up and go away.

However a type of residents, Lee-Anne Grey, mentioned she had nowhere to go and couldn’t afford a non-public rental in a saturated market that additionally had no social housing accessible.

Eviction notices a possible human rights breach

CoGB director Stacy Williamson advised ABC Central Victoria that enforcement orders can be issued to residents who didn’t transfer on and that it wished campers to work with housing assist organisation Haven; Dwelling, Protected.

“The Metropolis’s position is to not discover or present housing for individuals on this scenario,” she mentioned.

“We definitely need enforcement to be the final type of motion that we take. Our desire is that campers have interaction with these housing assist companies and discover appropriate lodging.”

a tent sits wet in the rain
Round six individuals are dwelling on the Huntly Lions Park. There have been 15 about three months in the past.(ABC Central Victoria: Tyrone Dalton)

However the brand new CEO of ARC Justice, Damian Inventory, advised ABC Central Victoria that eradicating the residents from their solely housing is a human rights difficulty.

“We have heard Stacy and the language of grace intervals. And let’s be very clear, these are eviction notices, they’re eradicating individuals from the one possibility that is accessible to them,” Mr Inventory mentioned.

“If the council just isn’t complying with the Constitution of Human Rights, it is probably illegal for them to take additional motion.”

A sign on a park fence giving notice that camping will no longer be permitted in Huntly Lions Park.
The Metropolis of Better Bendigo and the Victorian authorities will not allow tenting on the park.(ABC Central Victoria: Tyrone Dalton)

Social justice advocates might search court docket injunction

ARC Justice is working with the campers and is looking for authorized recommendation on what choices can be found, together with looking for an injunction on the orders.

“There is a wealth of energy right here. Simply because town council has the naked energy to take away individuals, it is a public authority and it should additionally contemplate the affect of its choices on the human rights of the those who we’re talking about,” Mr Inventory mentioned.

“These are actual individuals. They’re mums and fogeys of employees.”

The Victorian authorities launched the Constitution for Human Rights in 2006.

The constitution states public authorities who’ve the naked authorized proper to make choices should be certain that these choices are proportionate after they affect individuals’s human rights.

“If the council goes to take motion that removes them from what’s at the moment their houses, they want to ensure it’s a proportionate step, and that they’ve assessed the affect of that step on the precise circumstances of those individuals, together with what are the outcomes, what is going on to occur to those individuals if the council does take these steps,” Mr Inventory mentioned.

a police officer and council workers talk with campers
On Monday, police and the council officers advised campers that they had 14 days to go away.(ABC Central Victoria: Tyrone Dalton)

Residents have advised the ABC that that they had not been capable of get housing via Haven; Dwelling, Protected and that tenting on the park was their solely possibility.

However regardless of this, Ms Williamson mentioned campers wanted to have a look at designated campgrounds or entry different types of lodging.

Round six individuals are dwelling on the Huntly Lions Park.

Metropolis ‘washes fingers’ of campers’ housing plight

Final Friday, the Division of Surroundings, Land Water and Planning modified the standing of the reserve on the council’s request so individuals might not camp on the website.

Ms Williamson mentioned the Huntly Lions Park was set as much as solely be a short-stay “novelty” place for individuals to remain.

“Over time, town has acquired varied complaints round security and amenity of the positioning,” Ms Williamson mentioned.

Ms Williamson mentioned the council might determine appropriate areas for reasonably priced housing consistent with its motion plan and that social housing was a part of its inclusivity technique.

However she mentioned native authorities didn’t construct or handle social or reasonably priced housing and it didn’t have a task in putting individuals into housing.

a sign that reads Huntly Lions Park
The Metropolis of Better Bendigo voted to alter the standing of Huntly Lions Park so tenting can be banned.(ABC Central Victoria: Tyrone Dalton)

Mr Inventory is the previous CEO of the Inside Melbourne Group Authorized Centre and specialises in administrative legislation and housing rights.

“The washing of the fingers right here by the Bendigo metropolis council, basically saying ‘housing just isn’t their duty’, is actually not adequate,” he mentioned.



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