HUNDREDS of residents of caravan and residential parks throughout NSW are angry at new Premier Barry O’Farrell’s decision to dump member for Albury Greg Aplin, from his frontbench.
By yesterday afternoon, acting president of the Affiliated Residential Park Residents Association of NSW, Dr Gary Martin, had received more than 500 emails from association members upset at learning Mr Aplin had not been appointed Minister for Fair Trading.
Dr Martin said Mr Aplin had spent two years liaising with the association and its members regarding proposed changes to legislation governing residential parks and their permanent tenants.
“They are not happy campers,” Dr Martin said.
“Over two years, Greg had taken the time to listen to all the issues, travel to all of our resident information forums in NSW and asked us for real input into what we believe will be social change in low-cost housing affordability.
“We are devastated. We are at a loss as to how a shadow minister, who has built up relationships with key stakeholders, is dumped at the 11th hour.
“Our very hard work of travelling to Sydney, lobbying and running resident forums across the state has just unravelled in our view.”
Based at Forster on the NSW North Coast, Dr Martin said his association had tens of thousands of members, most aged in their 70s and 80s, living at 950 parks throughout the state.
He said they believed Mr Aplin had understood their housing battles at the Consumer Trader Tenancy Tribunal as shadow minister.
“Greg has been a listener, he came to our Tweed Heads forum in February, where there was a massive turnout and we were delighted when he announced proposed changes to the Residential Parks Act,” Dr Martin said.
Association members had turned to the Coalition after their concerns were ignored by the former Labor government.
“We felt Greg was a minister in waiting. Now we have to talk to an unknown minister in Anthony Roberts and what I find ridiculous is that his electorate is based at Lane Cove in Sydney where there is not one caravan park or residential park,” he said.
“We have lost Greg at the expense of a city-based politician and it is a real kick in the guts for regional NSW.”
Dr Martin said association members were hopeful Mr Aplin would be appointed as a parliamentary secretary for fair trading and the O’Farrell Government would follow through on policy announcements related to the legislative change.
He said the association committee would continue to direct its members to write letters to the government and media.
“We have been betrayed and lied to by a government that we thought was going to be honest,” he said.
Another report — page 8 Editorial — page 14