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AU NSW government to evict people with rental agreements from National Parks buildings

Property Here - Wednesday, October 09, 2013

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Champagne views on a beer budget

The view of Camp Cove at Watson's Bay from Constable's Cottage.

A GROUP of "million-dollar squatters" living with Harbour and coastal views under cosy rent deals in National Parks buildings are to be evicted.

Eager to end a series of arrangements organised over decades, the government wants to create tourism opportunities on the sites - either through setting up cafes or short-stay accommodation.

Termination notices were issued last Friday to two families living rent-free in National Parks buildings at Barrenjoey Headland.

Free rent is over for ALP relative of Laurie Brereton

They have been given 90 days to move out.

Among those getting the boot is Shane Kavanagh, the brother-in-law of former state and federal Labor minister Laurie Brereton, who has been living rent-free for more than 10 years on site. Another is Mark Arblaster, a distant relative of former state Liberal MP David Arblaster.

Shane Kavanagh and his family will be evicted from their National Parks property.

Shane Kavanagh and his family will be evicted from their National Parks property.

Others to be evicted immediately include National Parks staff who have enjoyed peppercorn rent at residences at Gap Bluff and South Head.

The government says it is the first tranche of a redevelopment program which will evict staff tenants from Nielsen Park, Greycliff House, Middle Head and Goat Island in coming months.

There are 93 staff-occupied National Parks residences in the state with rents ranging from nothing at Barrenjoey to $3 a week at Tibooburra and up to $410 at Goat Island.

In the case of the Governor's Cottage at Nielsen Park, the rent is $242 per week - when market value is $389.

Shane Kavanagh admits he owns two units despite living rent-free

While the government believes it is fair for National Parks rangers to inhabit its cottages in remote locations, it sees no need for such arrangements in Sydney and many of its other sites.

"Ultimately, this is about giving the community greater access to some of the best locations Sydney has to offer," Environment Minister Robyn Parker said.

"We want to ensure that agreements made by the previous government that saw families live in waterfront properties in national parks rent free are no longer able to occur.

"The public and the government have a clear expectation that we use our national parks and public assets for the benefit of the whole community."

One of the National Parks properties people are being evicted from.

One of the National Parks properties people are being evicted from.

Mr Kavanagh and Mr Arblaster yesterday claimed the government had "failed to recognise possibly one of the longest historical connections on Sydney's northern beaches" and were ignoring local protests over development of the area.

They said their pleas to National Parks since 1995 for rental agreements to be entered into were "ignored".

Families at Barrenjoey Head fear their heritage will be destroyed

"In the last six years alone, over $500,000 have been spent by the Arblaster and Kavanagh families to rebuild and maintain the dilapidated dwellings, in full knowledge of NPWS," the pair claimed.

The government says eviction proceedings were started by National Parks and halted by two former Labor ministers, Pam Allan and Bob Debus, in 1996 and 2003.

Expressions of interest for the sites open today