The first eviction attempt at Cabbage Tree Island last Tuesday.
The first eviction attempt at Cabbage Tree Island last Tuesday. Jay Cronan

Stay orders stop eviction attempt

A TWO-HOUR stand-off yesterday between residents and a sheriff’s officer, police and a locksmith was the latest episode in the Cabbage Tree Island evictions.

Locks were changed on one house, the resident in Grafton jail unaware he had lost his home.

Two other homes were saved by a stay order organised by Al Oshlack, a member of the Indigenous Justice Advocacy Network, for Marcia Anderson and Simon King.

Marcia Anderson sat in her house with sister, Susan, and waited until the order came through.

Susan Anderson spoke to TheNorthern Star while she waited.

“Marcia is stressed out. She has a bad heart,” she said.

The fortnightly rent for Marcia Anderson’s home is $220, as well as an extra $100 each fortnight towards arrears.

The Jali Aboriginal Land Council is responsible for the home rentals, but did not answer phone calls from the Northern Star to clarify the situation on the island.

The stay order means Marcia Anderson and Simon King are protected for the next six weeks while the Consumer Trades Tenancy Tribunal, based in Tamworth, makes a decision about a rehearing.

Mr Oshlack said residents were not notified about their rent arrears, or about an eviction order.

“The first they knew of eviction was when the sheriff knocked on the door,” he said.

The tribunal has requested submissions from tenants and will then make a decision about a rehearing.

Mr Oshlack predicts that will be in five or six weeks.

Meanwhile, Susan Anderson says she wants the State Land Council and the Jali Aboriginal Land Council to come out to the island and talk to them.

“Bring in the big heads and have a meeting with tenants,” she said.

“They’re not listening to us.”

Mr Oshlack said there should be consultation.

“It’s a sad day when police and a sheriff are in a Bundjalung community evicting traditional Aboriginal owners from their land,” Mr Oshlack said.

Susan Anderson said the stay order had taken a big load off their shoulders.



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