Homeless support at Daylesford public forum

Community members at a public forum about homelessness on Thursday continued to throw their support behind Daylesford Holiday Park residents. 

The 26 members at the public meeting agreed to write to Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio and Consumer Affairs Minister Marlene Kairouz asking for protections for caravan park residents. 

Councillor Kate Redwood stands outside Daylesford Holiday Park. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Councillor Kate Redwood stands outside Daylesford Holiday Park. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Forum organiser Councillor Kate Redwood said the community hoped to see the residents allowed to stay.

“The community are very solidly behind supporting the residents in the Daylesford caravan park who are being evicted and are very keen to see that situation resolved,” she said. 

“There’s a two-year waiting list for community housing in Daylesford and commercial rents are out of reach.”

The 11 permanent residents at Daylesford Holiday Park were issued with a ‘notice to vacate’ in March to provide more space for tourists. 

Six of the long-term residents have lived at the park for between 13 and 33 years. Five residents commenced living at the park in 2016, based on advice from the previous park manager they could live there permanently.

The caravan park operator is legally able to order tenants to vacate their sites.

The Daylesford Holiday Park lease agreement with Hepburn Shire Council includes a condition to comply with DELWP's policy for Improving Equity of Access to Crown Land Caravan and Camping Parks 2011.

The policy states that: "a 12-month permit: allows a caravan and annex to be installed on a camp site for a 12-month period and used by the permit holder for no more than 59 consecutive nights per year and a maximum total of 180 days per year."

However, the Daylesford Holiday Park operator and council can agree to vary lease conditions. If an agreement is reached, the lease variation will require the approval of Ms D’Ambrosio.

Daylesford Victoria Caravan Park Campaign Committee member David Hall. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Daylesford Victoria Caravan Park Campaign Committee member David Hall. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Daylesford Victoria Caravan Park Campaign Committee member David Hall said the group was not asking for a change to the policy.

“If they want to use recreation parks for recreation, that’s fine.

“But we do believe when people have been given assurances that they can stay for the rest of their natural lives there should be a grandfather clause in there that says that is so,” he said.

A sign outside Daylesford Holiday Park. Picture: Dylan Burns.

A sign outside Daylesford Holiday Park. Picture: Dylan Burns.