THE Campbell family on Monday afternoon pitched a tent outside the Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council building as a protest.
Paul, Ian and Gary Campbell and their extended families have returned from Kempsey in northern NSW to what they says is their ancestral land at the Wallaga Lake Koori village, located south of Narooma.
Finding housing again in the village however has proved impossible so far with the lands council board overseeing a waiting list for available homes.
The council has also in recent weeks evicted three residents with ties to the Campbell family on grounds of rent being in arrears and also due to building safety concerns when one elderly resident fell through a floor.
Three of the Campbell families left Wallaga in November 2011 after tensions flared between family members and other families in the village.
Paul Campbell says the families that include children of all ages now want to return and contribute back to the community, even offering to repair houses themselves.
“We are homeless, but this is our land and we want to live here,” he said.
A hearing involving one of the Campbell families’ housing grievances was held at the Narooma Golf Club in late January without resolution, despite the involvement of the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal and South Eastern Aboriginal Regional Management Services.
The tenancy tribunal is also involved in individual cases of eviction and threatened evictions.
Narooma resident Marilyn Campbell acting on behalf of her family members has contacted the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) as well as the local state and federal members.
Merrimans lands council chief executive officer Anne Greenaway said the council board directly managed the housing and had to follow certain protocols for both the waiting lists and managing current tenants making sure houses were safe and rents were being paid.
In terms of waiting lists for houses, she said the board had to make sure certain criteria were met and applications were reviewed on their merits and on a case-by-case basis.
The Wallaga Lake Koori village has 31 houses, of which 28 are habitable, and only three of these are vacant, one of which requires significant repairs.