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Melb squatters to protest amid eviction

AAP logoAAP 12/08/2016 By Helen Velissaris

Squatters in a Melbourne house acquired by the government for a road project that was later scrapped plan to protest after being handed eviction notices.

The squatters living in Bendigo Street, Collingwood, were served the notices by Victoria Police on Thursday.

Dozens of people have been living in houses compulsorily acquired by the former coalition government for the East West Link before Labor pulled the pin on the road project.

Victorian Housing Minister Martin Foley says the squatters have stopped government employees from doing their job.

"The department of housing staff have been intimidated. They feel threatened trying to carry out those duties," he told 3AW radio on Friday.

"What they (the squatters) are seeking to do is make a political point - they are stopping desperately needed housing being used by homeless families."

Victoria Police say the occupants will be given adequate time to vacate.

But the Bendigo Street squatters said they would protest on Friday afternoon calling on the government to make the homes available to some of the 30,000 Victorians on public housing waiting lists.

One of the squatters doubts Labor will honour its promise to use the homes for the needy.

"They want to put private renters in here. They've got no interest in putting people that are suffering," Spike told 3AW.

The government says the properties have been leased by the Salvation Army for people in need including women and children fleeing family violence.

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