HOME WOES: Carl Murray says his family was evicted from their own property.
HOME WOES: Carl Murray says his family was evicted from their own property. Liana Turner

Evicted from their own land: red tape tangles up family's plans

THE struggle of home ownership often makes the headlines, but this challenge is not only plaguing those in their early 20s.

For one Granite Belt family of six, owning their own land hasn't been the biggest hurdle.

Carl Murray said he and wife Wendy were trying to save money to build their family a home.

Now, he feels they have taken a mammoth leap backwards after being told they cannot live on their Passchendaele property.

Mr Murray said his family had been living in temporary accommodation at their 200ha property on Mt Janet Rd, with plans to build their home after saving enough funds.

He said the Southern Downs Regional Council had instructed them to vacate the property in lieu of an approved residential building - a move he feels was nothing more than bureaucracy.

"They forced us to go and rent, but we wanted to build,” he said.

"It was terrible.”

He said the family had found a rental 19km from their property and he had to travel to the farm each day to tend to their animals.

He said his four children had wanted to see the animals but were now finding this difficult.

"They just want to come back out to the farm all the time,” he said.

Mr Murray, a disability pensioner, said they didn't know how they would now be able to afford to build and were devastated by the situation.

Mr Murray said they had owned the land for almost 18months and had now been renting for several months.

Southern Downs Regional Council's director of planning, environment and corporate services, Ken Harris, said local government planning legislation must be adhered to.

"There is planning, building and plumbing legislation relating to the building of a dwelling within the Southern Downs region which would be similar, if not the same, as that applying to other regions in Queensland,” Mr Harris said. "This legislation is built around the need to ensure that dwellings are safe, hygienic and have a level of amenity and aesthetic appeal.”

He said the council regularly received complaints about people living in non-residential buildings and was required to act on these complaints.

Mr Harris said residents could apply for a temporary home permit.

"It is possible to live in a structure such as a shed on a temporary basis while building a dwelling on the land,” Mr Harris said.

He said to gain a Temporary Home Permit, residents must have approval for the construction of a permanent dwelling and have "acceptable toilet facilities, washing facilities, water supply, and the building used for the temporary home must be structurally adequate”.

The permit can be issued for a maximum of 12 months.

Information on the permit is at www.sdrc.qld.gov.au. Click on Doing Business, then Building Works and Temporary Homes.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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