Carter family relieved after planning minister saves farm

Relief, shock, and an overwhelming sense of happiness that a 16-year struggle is finally over were some of the emotions the Carter family felt after learning their farm was safe. 

The state government on Tuesday told the Marong landholders they had rejected the City of Greater Bendigo’s plan to forcibly purchase a section of their farm to build an industrial park.

“It's a relief after all these years. It's good to know that good can prevail and common sense can prevail,” Max Carter said.

“The minister (planning minister Richard Wynne) has said to us this is the end - there's no other avenues for appeal - it's finished.

“If they (Bendigo council) want to build a business park they'll have to go and find some land and buy it on the open market like everybody else has to do and not try to take it off someone.

“We’ve remained strong and had lots of help from the family and other people - some financially, and heaps of support on social media.”

His thoughts were echoed by daughter Tamrie, who thanked the community for their support – whether it be online or those who had taken the time to contact minister Wynne’s office or sign the petition. 

Around 12,000 signatures were on the online petition on Tuesday. 

“It's great that people will stand up and take a stand and make a difference,” Tamrie said.

“We’re happy it's finally over and there is a certain answer that we can keep this land for as long as we like.”

The family said the wait between the council meeting in April, during which councillors voted to forcibly buy their land, and the minister’s final decision was an agonising one.

They plan to move on from the politics and “get on with our business and keep farming”, which could include making improvements to their farm and more long-term planning.

In rejecting the plan to purchase 311 hectares of land owned by the family, minister Wynne said: “The proposed land acquisition by the council was well intentioned but ignored the strongly held views of the land owners and was not justified in the circumstances.”