The Labor Opposition has welcomed today’s backflip by the Napthine Government not to sell off a community and disability service farm.

Shadow Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, said after months of pressure from the community, State Opposition and in particular Upper House Eastern Metropolitan Labor MP Shaun Leane, Roads Minister Terry Mulder today visited the farm to announce he had back flipped on the sale of the land.

“Denis Napthine and Terry Mulder had the for sale signs printed and ready to go but hard work and campaigning by the local community and Labor’s Shaun Leane forced the Napthine Government to backflip today,” Mr Donnellan said.

“Disability service provider Nadrasca has successfully operated Nadrasca Community Farm in Vermont for nearly 10 years with the support and backing of community and this is fantastic news that they can continue their operations.

“Former Disability Services Minister and now Premier Denis Napthine talked big in his first few days about taking a leadership role on social responsibility but he failed this local community.
Denis Napthine shouldn’t have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to stop the bulldozers destroying a vital community asset used by people with a disability and the wider community.

“This land was not required by VicRoads for a major roadway and it was obviously already being used as a vital community asset that should remain.

“Even local Liberal MPs had made an election commitment to save the properties, but have since gone silent.”

Shaun Leane took the community’s battle to Parliament earlier this year moving a motion in the house to stop the sale of Nadrasca Community Farm, but was defeated by the Napthine Government on numbers. He also presented a petition from the community calling on the Government not to sell the land.

“Nadrasca and the local community have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the farm to make it the success it is today and they should not have had to go through the stress and anxiety in recent months fearing it would be pulled from under them by this callous Government,” Mr Leane said.

“It’s important people with disabilities are treated as a part of the community the same as anyone else – with respect, and that is something the Napthine Government has not done.

“The local community can take great pride in their campaign to save the farm and I am sure they will continue to fight the Napthine Government and local Liberal MPs in ensuring the rest of the neighbouring land is also protected for community use as was promised at the last election.”

Published on September 10, 2013