GREAT-great grandmother Esther Mellows lives in fear of being booted from the southside Brisbane caravan park she has called home for 36 years. The 87-year-old's homely caravan and annexe, surrounded by her lovingly-tended flower garden, became worthless overnight after the Newman Government abruptly announced a sale of state-owned caravan parks.
Three parks will go, including Woombye Gardens in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Lazy Acres at Hervey Bay and Cannon Hill's Monte Carlo Caravan Park, where Ms Mellows and about 170 others live.
"I haven't slept at all. I just don't know what I can do," she told The Courier-Mail yesterday.
Another resident, Michael Edridge, put the finishing touches on $25,000 worth of renovations to his caravan, including a permanent patio area, just half an hour before residents were told of the sale on Tuesday. "Who's going to buy it now? It's virtually become worthless," he said.
Under fire in State Parliament yesterday, Premier Campbell Newman labelled as "nonsense" claims the parks would be sold off for housing development, prompting Opposition housing spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller to label him "scum".
She was warned for unparliamentary language and later ejected for an hour.
A spokesman for Housing Minister Bruce Flegg confirmed there were no stipulations against developers buying the parks and redeveloping them, although there was a caveat preventing any development for 18 months. Dr Flegg has argued proceeds from the sale will be redirected into the state's struggling public housing sector.
But Queensland Shelter executive officer Adrian Pisarski said 300 caravan park residents would be affected while the $20 million-$21 million to be made from the sales would only fund about 70 new public housing properties.
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