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The State Government says public servants were scared off by the media yesterday, as they tried to tell residents at Footscray, their homes would be demolished.
Up to 50 homes in Footscray and Sunshine will acquired to make way for the development that is part of the Government's transport plan.
Premier John Brumby has criticised the media for alerting residents first and rejected claims the Department of Transport failed to consult the community.
Transport Minister Martin Pakula has stopped short of apologising, but has now admitted the Government got it wrong.
"It is a very stressful situation for them (the public servants) as well, and it's made more stressful when they have to make a decision about whether they should conduct those conversations in front of the media," he said.
"They made a decision that it wasn't something that they wanted to do and that's a judgement that they made.
"I suspect that if we had our time over, it would be done a bit differently."
The Greens say the State Government has failed to properly consult residents about their plans.
Greens Upper House MP, Colleen Hartland, says many residents discovered their houses would be acquired for the rail link through the media.
"I ended up with an elderly couple in my office, very distressed yesterday, after journalists told them that their home of 65 years was going to be acquired by the Government," she said.
"Now, even though I support that project, I just think that's an outrageous way to treat people."
Resident Rhiannon Modica said they had been alerted about possible soil testing in March but has heard nothing since then.
"Of course we were aware of the Eddington Report and what's been in the media and we knew that it was a possibility but to find out this way was quite shocking," she said.
Ms Modica accept that it may be necessary to compulsorily acquire her property and supports improvements in public transport.
"But I think the process has been a bit of a debacle. A call would have been great," she said.
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