MP's plea to show compassion
LETTERS will be tabled in parliament next week detailing the misery and fear generated by the LNP Government's decision to sell off a caravan park that is the only place to call home for 63 of the Sunshine Coast's poorest residents.
Member for Nicklin Peter Wellington will present the letters, some of which had to be penned for people who lack even basic reading and writing skills.
He will call on the Premier to show compassion and back away from the decision.
"There's no shame in him saying 'I got it wrong'. It may be to his political credit," Mr Wellington said.
"The sale price will go nowhere towards accommodating these people."
Housing Minister Bruce Flegg announced on July 31 the State Government would sell Woombye Gardens Caravan Park at Woombye, Lazy Acres Caravan Park at Hervey Bay and Monte Carlo at Cannon Hill in Brisbane throwing the future of 300 people into doubt.
The government has placed a covenant on the sales requiring new owners to maintain the current use for 18 months after the sale.
A spokesman for Dr Flegg said last week the former government paid $4.1 million in 2007 to buy the Woombye Gardens Caravan Park and has since spent $2.75 million upgrading it.
"In the event that Woombye Gardens ceases to operate as a caravan park, the department will adopt a range of measures to ensure affected residents are assisted either into the private rental market or social housing," the spokesman said.
"The approach will be tailored to the individual needs and circumstances of the applicant. If these end up not being caravan parks down the track, the Premier has committed to every one of the current residents - we will look after them."
Mr Wellington said he had requested, but was yet to see, the business case for the sell off.
Dr Flegg has argued Labor's 2007 Caravan Park Accommodation Program had cost $19.3m in acquisitions and upgrades and $1.1 million a year for the past two years in administration and management costs.
He said the government would use the money to help accommodate 30,000 Queensland families on the social housing register who were still waiting for a home.
Mr Wellington said that efficiencies and improvements could be found by working with management.
"Selling just because you don't like the current model is the wrong approach," he said.
In 2010 then housing minister Karen Struthers said the Labor government had bought the parks to keep them off the Housing Department list.
She said it would give permanent residents "peace of mind that they won't lose their homes to development".