The Andrews Government has rejected calls to help out Bolton Street traders telling them to seek court action if they want to be compensated for losses during the six month roadworks outside their shops.
Traders say they have had substantial income losses of up to 40 percent while works have dragged on since last September. However, their plight has left the Government unmoved.
“This Government does not seem to care that they have suffered dust, construction noise, reduced patronage and disruptions to their livelihoods for six months.
“These traders deserve more than being directed to the Law Institute Referral Service website to seek legal advice,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“It’s a pitiful response to a group of hard working businesses who have been drastically affected by these works dragging on.”
I asked the Minister in Parliament if the Government would provide compensation to the traders. In response they said while there may be some short term impacts, the construction strategy was to finish the works in the shortest time and provide benefits to the wider community.
This is in contrast to the reality that there was limited or no work on the recent Labor Day weekend, for two weeks over New Year and the day before Melbourne Cup.
“VicRoads advises me that it does not have access to a fund for compensating traders or business owners for inconvenience or loss of access to their business, which they say result in reduced income,” the Minister said.
“I understand that any claim for loss of income, which is described as economic loss, is a civil claim and the trader or business owner must establish that the loss is due to VicRoads’ works and that the lost income is a direct result of VicRoads’ actions”.
The Minister added that traders may wish to seek legal advice and then outlined the referral service’s website address.
The Government has also failed to take up a call by the Nillumbik Shire Council to provide rates relief to the traders.
“Not only has the Government failed to deliver these works in a timely manner – it has also shown a shocking lack of empathy for the effects the construction activities have had and continue to cause,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Read the article published in the Diamond Valley Leader below.