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(en) Australia, Melbourne, MEDIA; Herald Sun discovers squatting.

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 9 Nov 2003 08:59:50 +0100 (CET)

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From: dr.woooo <dr.woooo-A-nomasters.org>
Herald Sun discovers squatting. - by mark question, Friday November 07, 2003 at 01:12 PM
On Cup Day (Tuesday Nov. 4) the Herald Sun ran an article on squatting in
Melbourne. Despite its sensationalistic language and tone the article gave free
publiscity to the Melbourne squatters guide and SUWA show.
The article below appeared in the Herald Sun earlier in the week. Despite using
sensationalistic language it is not as bad as it could have been and even
advertised the Melbourne squatters guide. It is worth noting that there is no
sign of councils, police, etc getting together (hence no quote from them) to
tackle squatting and really the story is a beat up. All of which may explain
that despite talking to local squatters months ago under the cover of doing a
story on homelessness (which was never believed) it has taken until now for the
story to show up on a slow news day.

The Melbourne squatters guide can be located at
http://www.geocities.com/squattersguide and the SUWA show goes to air every
Friday between 5-30 and 6-30pm on 3CR (855am)

Chummy Fleming is the name of one of Australia's first anarchists and was
active from the 1890s to the 1920s.

Squatters invade city buildings
By Fiona Hudson
November 4, 2003

SQUATTERS are invading hundreds of suburban homes and city buildings to live

The organised rent cheats have published a guerilla guide on the internet
offering takeover tips and tactics, and broadcast a weekly radio program.
They told the Herald Sun more than 100 long-term squatters, including some
families with young children, were living undetected in homes across the city.

Many more homeless itinerants were squatting short-term in vacant commercial
properties, often leaving a trail of damage behind. Police, the fire brigade
and the Melbourne, Port Phillip and Yarra councils have banded together to deal
with the growing squatting trend.

The No Frills Melbourne Squatters Guide includes chapters on finding empty
properties, breaking in and securing the squat, and connecting essential

"Once you are inside your new home, you will firstly need to change all the
locks so that you can feel secure and safe and keep out anyone you don't want
coming in," it says.
It offers advice on avoiding eviction if police come, and sweet-talking the
real owners if they turn up. It also gives specific details for secretly
lodging a caveat on the title to prevent the owners selling or mortgaging the

KPMG partner and property law expert Genevieve Overell described the guide and
advice network as appalling.

Ms Overell said she'd seen properties where squatters had barbecues on the
living room carpet, and pulled timber off the building to burn for warmth.
Others set up a neat home and treated it as their own, "like a tenant, except
they don't pay rent," she said.

Ms Overell said in the worst cases she'd sought court orders on behalf of
owners to remove the trespassers.
"You have to go there with a team of security guards and a locksmith . . . and
retake the property," she said.

The process was costly and upsetting for the rightful owners, she said. Real
estate agents said empty investment properties, holiday homes, deceased estates
and houses awaiting development were at highest risk of invasion.

Dixon Kestles property manager Justine Ashby has recently helped owners eject
squatters from a St Kilda home left vacant after it was auctioned. The
Melbourne Squatters Guide is published on the internet by an unidentified group
called the No Frills Collective.

The Herald Sun was alerted to the guide by a spokesman for the Squatters and
Unwaged Airwaves radio show broadcast weekly on 3CR. It broadcasts the location
of sites ripe for occupation by squatters and interviews with "success

One man interviewed recently boasted he'd lived in the same Footscray squat for
nine months, and had only paid rent once in four years. The man told the
station he'd chosen a council-owned building in a commercial zone to avoid

"The neighbours know what's going on, but it doesn't seem to bother anybody too
much," he said. A radio show spokesman, who called himself Chummy Fleming, said
possibly thousands of houses and buildings across Melbourne were occupied by

"I know some families who have been in the same place for five years," he
said. "Their kids go to school in the area and they end up paying rates and
phone and electricity bills on the property . . . even though they don't own

The full extent of the squatters' invasion is difficult to detect because
absent owners are usually unaware their property has been taken over.

Social worker Les Twentyman said high rents were forcing people to squat.


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