Why is the Victorian government handing over public housing to private landlords instead of owning and managing public housing for vulnerable Victorians?  This includes selling-off up to 80 per cent of these public assets and transferring 4,000 properties to the “community housing” sector.  This is privatisation of public assets.

The Facts

  1. Currently there are over 58,000 Victorians either homeless individuals or families (22,773) or waiting often years on public housing waiting lists (35,392) and  thousands more paying in excess of 40% of their income in private rental.  The shocking high numbers of homeless Victorians sleeping rough in the streets, in unsafe rooming houses or couch surfing include 26% of children aged 12 years or under. http://www.housing.vic.gov.au/public-housing-waiting list; http://www.homelessnessaustralia.org.au/sites/homelessnessaus/files/2017-07/Victoria_-_updated_Jan_2014.pdf
  2. Nine estates will be redeveloped under the so-called Stage 1 Public Housing Renewal Program: Ascot Vale, Brighton, Brunswick West, Clifton Hill, Hawthorn, Heidelberg West, Northcote, North Melbourne and Prahran. There are also renewal projects at Flemington and Preston.  All walk-ups are to be demolished even though some have been recently refurbished.
  3. The government is moving public housing tenants from their homes for indefinite periods of time.  At the time of writing, where they will be relocated and for how long is unknown. Tenants have been told to start packing as they will be moving out by the end of the year. The speed and secrecy by which the government is planning to displace masses of vulnerable people (many with disabilities and elderly pensioners) is cause for suspicion, and constitutes a very serious human rights issue. Already tenants are reporting that their health is deteriorating. Feedback from public tenants and perusal of government fact-sheets suggests a lack of genuine consultation and misleading and conflicting information.
  4. Public Housing was introduced after a hard fought battle to end the slums in the inner city over 70 years ago.  It has been a wonderful program of support for low income families and continues to be so.  That it is government run and funded is the most important aspect of this program and one that we should be protecting overwhelmingly.  Privatisation has been a disaster around the world and certainly here, and “social/community” housing is simply another form of privatisation.  It lets governments off the hook.
  5. The decision by the State Government to sell off huge areas of publicly owned land utilised by public housing is a disgrace.   It is wrong because that land can never be replaced.  It is wrong because it creates huge crises for individuals and families living on those estates.   It is wrong because both experience and research studies have shown that developers discriminate against public housing tenants on private estates, and it is totally wrong because it removes government responsibility for its people.

Hands Off Public Housing will continue to fight for the reversal of this policy and to fight for the rights of public housing tenants to remain in their local communities if their homes are in need of redevelopment – some to be demolished have already been refurbished.

Please join the Hands Off Public Housing campaign by writing, phoning or visiting your local state and federal members of Parliament and letting them know that you are opposed to the sale of public housing land to private, for profit developers and you want current public housing stock owned and managed by the government extended to assist those in need.   You believe that public housing is the best way to proceed to resolve the current and growing housing crisis in Victoria.  Spread the word and start a conversation with family and friends.

Compiled by Lew Wheeler for Hands Off Public Housing an initiative of the Melbourne Unitarian Peace Memorial Church (MUPMC).  For more information contact:

E: handsoffpublichousing@gmail.com

M: 0484 682 846.