HALF­WAY HOUSE

Mem­ber for Mur­ray Plains Peter Walsh is calling for the sale of Rochester’s iconic Ran­dom House to pre­vent it from fall­ing fur­ther into dis­re­pair. Gov­ern­ment drags its feet over sale of his­toric prop­erty

Campaspe News - - FRONT PAGE - By LACH­LAN DURLING

THE com­mu­nity has spo­ken, and it’s hop­ing the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment is lis­ten­ing.

Mem­ber for Mur­ray Plains Peter Walsh said the Rochester com­mu­nity should be very con­cerned the State Gov­ern­ment was con­tin­u­ing to fail the town in the man­age­ment of Ran­dom House.

Af­ter two years of lob­by­ing for the his­toric home to be handed back to the peo­ple from the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices (DHHS), the depart­ment con­firmed ne­go­ti­a­tions had be­gun to sell the prop­erty.

Mr Walsh said de­spite the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment hav­ing now ap­proved the pub­lic sale of Ran­dom House, the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment was drag­ging its feet, bereft of its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as a land­lord.

“I have been ad­vised by the Com­mon­wealth gov­ern­ment that the deed of agree­ment is with the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment and their for­mal del­e­gate sign-off is re­quired to al­low the pub­lic sale of Ran­dom House to progress,’’ he said.

“I have been pur­su­ing the Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment for more than two years over this is­sue and I am again calling on the min­is­ter to fi­nally do some­thing to save Ran­dom House by sign­ing off on the deed of agree­ment and pro­vid­ing the re­quired let­ter of sale as a mat­ter of ur­gency.”

Mr Walsh said if the deed of agree­ment was not signed off by Oc­to­ber 30, when the writs were is­sued for the Vic­to­rian elec­tion, noth­ing would progress on Ran­dom House for a con­sid­er­able amount of time.

“Un­der Daniel An­drews, Ran­dom House has been al­lowed to fall into al­most to­tal de­cay, degra­da­tion and ru­ina­tion from dis­use and lack of up­keep,’’ he said.

“The un­kept gar­dens are a real fire risk, the locks on the doors are bro­ken, and the in­side walls are now kicked in or cov­ered in graf­fiti.

“It is im­per­a­tive that ac­tion is taken now to save Ran­dom House, oth­er­wise it may be too late.”

A spokesper­son from the Vic­to­rian Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices said a de­ci­sion was ex­pected to be made in the com­ing weeks.

‘‘Fam­ily Safety Vic­to­ria is cur­rently ne­go­ti­at­ing with the Com­mon­wealth to de­ter­mine the fu­ture of Ran­dom House in Rochester, Vic­to­ria,’’ the spokesper­son said.

‘‘Lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity groups are be­ing con­sulted on this process, which is ex­pected to be fi­nalised in com­ing weeks.’’

Ran­dom House has been al­lowed to fall into al­most to­tal de­cay, degra­da­tion, and ru­ina­tion from dis­use and lack of up­keep.’

— Peter Walsh

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