Published on Thursday 25, January 2024

Class action filed against Victorian Government 

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA: Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL) has filed a class action against the Victorian Government to protect the human rights of public housing residents, who have been told their homes will be demolished as part of Victoria’s Housing Statement.  

The claim, filed at the Supreme Court of Victoria this morning, states the government failed to properly consider the human rights of residents when it made the decision to ‘retire and redevelop’ all 44 public housing towers by 2051. 

IMCL’s Chief Executive Officer, Elisa Buggy, said the way the Victorian Government made its decision was also incompatible with the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic).

“IMCL is calling on the Victorian Government to pause and reconsider its relocation plan. Public housing residents have human rights, too - the right to live free from arbitrary or unlawful interference with home and with family, the right to have families protected, the right to have the best interests of children be protected, property rights, and the right to security,” Ms Buggy said. 

The towers in Flemington, North Melbourne and Carlton are the first scheduled for demolition.  The lead plaintiff, Barry Berih, is one of the residents that will be impacted by the plan.  

“The decision has taken an emotional and physical toll on me and my community. The government didn’t consult with us or tell us about the decision.  We found out from the media,” Mr Berih said.  

“We are still being kept in the dark. The government keeps telling public housing residents that they have plans, but they still haven’t told us what the plans are. I don’t know where I am going to be living or where I might end up, and the government isn’t giving us the information we need to make decisions.”

Ms Buggy said that at a time of housing crisis – Victorian’s still do not know how the Government made the decision to relocate and demolish the homes of over 10,000 people across the state.   

“Victorians should know how and why government has made key decisions that impact an individual’s rights. Those decisions should not be shielded from the public because it was a decision made by Cabinet. The public has a right to know. People who live in public housing and whose rights are directly impacted absolutely have a right to know,” Ms Buggy said.  

Ms Buggy said that since the announcement, the process of relocating residents has proceeded with great haste, without adherence to relevant Homes Victoria guidelines and in a manner that IMCL considers lacks procedural fairness. 

“There is a lack of clarity around the relocation process and guidelines being followed. IMCL has received contradictory information, which makes it difficult for our service to provide accurate and detailed legal advice to our clients,” Ms Buggy said. 

Public housing residents can contact IMCL for free legal advice at (03) 9328 1885 or by email at You can also view the court documents and summary statement.

The lead plaintiff will not be making any further comment at this time.



Inner Melbourne Community Legal 

Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL) works for inclusive and safe communities and the full realisation of human rights, which includes advocating for systemic change in many areas including police accountability.


Media Enquiries

For further information or to arrange an interview with Elisa Buggy contact:

Connie Agius

Communications Lead

Inner Melbourne Community Legal

(03) 9328 1885