Dear Premier Daniel Andrews

Re: Stage 1 Public Housing Renewal Program Delegations

During two recent delegation meetings with Advisers questions put to you 5 weeks ago (e-letter dated 7 June 2017) remain unanswered and we now call on you and the Minister for Housing to stop fobbing us off to those who are in no position to answer the concerns and issues raised.

Sell-off for what?

Following these meetings, FGFP remains deeply concerned that social housing becomes no more than community housing managed and/or owned by such associations with the majority of public land and buildings sold off at discounted rates to market-based property developers. This is not in the public interest.

The number of Victorians in need of public housing is at scandalous levels with 35,000 Victorians on waiting lists yet we are told that your plans mean ‘public housing’ will increase by a mere 10 per cent. http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/about-the-department/documents-and-resources/research,-data-and-statistics/public-housing-waiting-and-transfer-list

Even this 10 per cent figure is doubtful as your Advisers along with much of your written information keep using the terms social housing, community housing and public housing interchangeably which of course they are not.

Victoria needs more public housing to address the chronic shortage and unmet need and to address homelessness. Your plans to privatise public housing will not meet the need but it will produce sizeable windfall profits for market-based property developers. Shame on you.

Number and types of properties

FGFP did not receive satisfactory responses to the key issue of the proportion of the redeveloped properties to be owned and managed by the Victorian government. What is the mix of ownership and/or management on each of the 11 Estates?

Begging off for reasons of commercial in confidence is simply no longer acceptable. Your government can set the percentage of public housing to be provided on each of the 11 Estates identified under Stage 1 of the so-called Public Housing Renewal Program.

FGFP is also deeply troubled by the idea that only 1-and 2- bedroom dwellings will be rebuilt. Will larger families be catered for and able to return to their former homes?

Consultation

It is a fact that the majority of those we have spent time with do not want to move they want to stay in their homes and in their communities. They do want their properties refurbished in stages while they remain on their Estates.

You are not listening to the tenants and they are not receiving information to allow informed choices to be made.

Public housing tenants need accurate and clear information which they are not receiving through your consultation process and neither are we through the delegations. How very disappointing for FGFP and how incredibly insensitive and uncaring for the public housing tenants who will be tossed out of their homes if not forcibly moved-on with no knowledge of where they will be sent or how. This includes many older pensioners, migrants, people with disabilities and young families some of whom have lived in their homes for 20 or more years.

You are worrying many of these tenants half to death and this is unconscionable.

Concluding remarks

Again, FGFP calls on your government to protect public housing by both reversing the policy of transferring management of public housing to community housing providers and investing the allocated social housing growth funds in the refurbishment of existing public housing stock and in the provision of new public housing stock to begin a long-term program of dealing with both the affordable housing and homelessness crises.

FGFP urges your government to adopt the objective of expanding and developing the public sector’s role in public housing provision and set clear targets for growth, sustainability and the demand for public housing as a matter of urgency and that these targets constitute measures to be used in decisions regarding new construction of public housing against replaced or disposed stock.

We again urge you and your Minister for Housing to meet with a FGFP delegation in the near future.

Yours sincerely

Roger Wilson
President Fair Go For Pensioners
03 9376 6429

Cc: Hon Martin Foley
Minister for Housing
Via Email: martin.foley@parliament.vic.gov.au