Greens call for an urgent review of parks legislation to safeguard residents

Greens MP and Housing spokesperson Jan Barham has called on communities to lobby the NSW Government to suspend the implementation of new laws affecting the affordability of residential parks and manufactured home estates, and to make public details about the process involved in developing the controversial laws that passed Parliament in late 2013.

“Recent evidence presented at the ICAC and our Parliamentary inquiry into housing gives cause for serious concern that affordable residential park living is under threat, while park operators who contributed funds to the Liberal Party are given the opportunity for windfall earnings,” Ms Barham said.

“The Government needs to act in the interests of the park home owners. Many of them are older people whose retirement nest eggs may have been lost in the Global Financial Crisis. I’m calling on the new Minister for Fair Trading, Matthew Mason-Cox, to fix the legislation and ensure the affordability of their homes is protected.”

Ms Barham’s comments follow evidence from the Independent Park Residents Action Group (IPRAG) to the NSW Parliament’s housing inquiry, providing case studies of home owners whose ongoing site fees have increased well above the CPI, and highlighting the continued loss of permanent homes as large corporations take over parks and redevelop them into tourism resorts.

“Our inquiry into housing has heard about the loss of low-cost housing in residential parks and villages, especially in coastal areas. It’s essential that affordable housing in parks is preserved.

“The new legislation allows park operators to increase site fees on questionable grounds including claims about future expenses, and it also introduces a new form of capital gain sharing that would see home owners lose a share of the value of their home when they sell it,” Ms Barham said.

“Many home owners and residents were concerned about the proposed legislation last year and in the Parliament I attempted to move amendments that would have fixed many of the biggest risks. The Government didn’t listen at the time, but the community can ask them to act on this new evidence.

“It’s time for people to help protect the wellbeing of people who live in residential parks. Write to the Minister for Fair Trading and let him know that the Government must protect parks and villages as an affordable housing option for older people and others who want to live in those communities,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891