ABC Melbourne's Jon Faine interviewing Peter Gray from Wantirna Residential Caravan Park

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Residential parks play an increasingly vital role in providing affordable housing. Development company LongRiver bought Wantirna Residential Caravan Park for $35.6 million in August 2016, then hiked up the rent and released plans to redevelop the site with 294 townhouses. 

The 200 current residents are mostly elderly pensioners with low incomes. Many of them have lived there for over 20 years. They lease the land, but most of them own portable houses, not just caravans. They will all be evicted by January 2018 and will be losing their homes, some of which are worth $150,000. Many of them are desperately trying to sell their houses for as little as $5000. 

Unlike the legislation in NSW where people are compensated if they get evicted from caravan parks, these residents in Wantirna are told they're getting NO compensation for the loss of value of their caravans and houses, and NO financial assistance to relocate. They can move their houses, but it costs $25,000 to $50,000 to transport them on a truck. 

Apart from the loss of money and loss of homes, the fallout to this community and their families is massive. The residents are feeling displaced, most are distraught and anxious, not knowing where they'll go and how they'll be able to afford to relocate and start over.

The new developer LongRiver is acting legally but arguably immorally, ignoring any pleas by the Victorian state government for compassion and compensation. The state government and the local Knox City council have been talking but not acting. This issue needs urgent attention. We need to protect our most vulnerable people. The law in Victoria needs to change to bring it more in line with the sensible tenancy laws of NSW. 

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