A family whose plight was likened to that of the Kerrigans in Australian movie The Castle have won a battle to keep their land.
Five generations of the Carter family have lived at Marong, near Bendigo, for around 100 years, but for more than a decade they’ve been fighting the local council’s attempts to compulsorily acquire 313 hectares of it to create a business park.
Earlier this year, the City of Greater Bendigo voted six to two in favour of the acquisition and the decision was left with Victoria’s Planning Minister Richard Wynne for final approval.
Mr Wynne has now refused the council’s request.
“In the absence of any agreement between the parties, the rejection of compulsory acquisition here, I believe, is the right outcome,” he said.
“The independent panel that assessed this planning scheme amendment by the City of Greater Bendigo indicated that compulsory acquisition was not warranted.
“But the council continued to press and against, obviously, the very clear wishes of the Carter family that their land was not for sale.”
‘The little guys really can win’
Tamrie Carter would have had to find somewhere else to live if the compulsory acquisition was approved. (ABC News: Lauren Day)
Tamrie Carter, who lives in an 1850s former pub located on the land, said the whole family was thrilled by the decision.
“We are still in shock and have some disbelief that it is all really over,” she said.
“But we are over the moon that good can prevail and the little guys really can win!”
Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke says the Marong Business Park would generate around 3,500 jobs for the region. (ABC News: Lauren Day)
Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said the Minister’s decision was “extremely disappointing”.
“This decision will have a significant impact on our thriving advanced local manufacturing sector,” she said.
“The lack of suitable industrial land remains a serious and pressing issue for Greater Bendigo. Without it we risk losing not just future but existing jobs for our growing population.”
Mr Wynne said the State Government would continue to work with the council to find another site for the proposed business park.
“I’ve advised the CEO that the Victorian Planning Authority wants to work alongside the City of Greater Bendigo to locate an alternative site for the business park and they will consider that request,” he said.