Members of the Carter family will head to Parliament House next week to hand deliver a “plea” letter to planning minister Richard Wynne, urging him not to approve the forced sale of their land.
The minister is yet to decide on whether to accept Bendigo council’s plan to forcibly buy 313 hectares of land off the Carter family to build an industrial park in Marong.
The council last month voted 6:2 in favour of placing a public acquisition overlay on a section of the Carters’ farm, at an emotional and at times fiery council meeting.
If minister Wynne signs off on the overlay, the acquisition will go ahead and there are no avenues for appeal.
“The letter is just asking him to show a bit of sympathy to the family and details how much we love our land,” Max Carter said on Thursday.
Right wing activist Avi Yemini is drumming up support for the family on social media, encouraging people to attend Parliament House on May 9 from 11am, in a Facebook event titled ‘Standing with the Carters’.
Mr Carter said the family had no concerns aligning itself with the public figure.
“They’re offering to help us – that’s what we need,” he said.
A spokesperson for Mr Yemini said he, along with a number of individuals, came on board to support the Carters because he is passionate about their cause.
The family has been overwhelmed with the public support of their plight. Around 100 protesters gathered, many holding signs in support of the Carter family, outside the Bendigo town hall last month ahead of the council vote and chants of “keep fighting Carters” rang out in the council chambers after the decision.
The debate over whether to publicly acquire private land west of the city for an industrial park has raged for 16 years, and pitted the needs of a broader community against those of a farming family.
The City of Greater Bendigo maintained it considered seven other sites for the business park, but the land in Marong was considered most strategically placed.
Debate in recent months has focused on the conclusions of an independent planning panel in 2016, which found there was insufficient justification for the COGB to compulsorily acquire property in Marong to build the business park, when other options were available.
A former Bendigo mayor referenced the panel’s findings in urging the council to abandon forced sale plans.