Published on Wednesday 20, September 2023
Calls for Victorian Government to reverse its decision to replace public housing across the state
MELBOURNE: Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL) is calling on the Victorian Government to reverse its decision to have all public housing towers torn down by 2051. The replacement of these estates with private and social housing will not solve the housing crisis in this community, which is one comprised of vulnerable or marginalised people.
Public housing residents across the state will be displaced when their homes are torn down to make way for community housing and private investment as part of the Victorian Housing Statement today. Some of the estates listed as the first to go by 2031 are Flemington, North Melbourne and Carlton.
IMCL’s Acting Director of Legal Practice, Louisa Bassini, said “this announcement is a continuation of the destruction of public housing that we have seen in recent years. It is a plan that has no regard for the wellbeing of our communities.”
“The fact that these towers have fallen into disrepair is the direct result of the Victorian Government’s neglect. The sites should be upgraded now but kept as public housing so it can be used by people that urgently need safe and sustainable homes in the midst of a housing crisis."
The Victorian Government has used the terms social housing and community housing interchangeably in its announcement, which has created confusion among residents because there is a significant difference.
“Social housing is a term used for both community and public housing. Community housing is run by a range of usually small, non-government organisations that are not properly regulated and lack accountability. The rights of community housing renters are inferior to those in public housing,” Ms Bassini said.
“Community housing renters are required to pay more, often in the guise of spurious 'service charges', they have less access to disability modifications or transfers to alternate properties when required, and the policies that guide the day-to-day operation of community housing fall well short than those of the Department of Families Fairness and Housing."
The Victorian Government made this announcement and started to put notices up at some of the public housing estates today, but it has given no clear timeframe or details about the relocation of residents, renewal of the sites, or the right to return when the rebuild is completed.
IMCL has started to hear from residents in the public housing towers, who are confused, stressed and unsure of what their future holds. “This announcement has sent shockwaves through our community today. It is a community comprised of many vulnerable and marginalised people who now must not only worry about putting food on the table but now fear they will lose the social support that their estate has provided,” Ms Bassini said.
“It is not too late for the Victorian Government to reverse this decision and commit to providing secure, safe, well-maintained and sustainable public housing.”
Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL)
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.
For further information, or to arrange an interview please contact:
Acting Director of Legal Practice
(03) 03 9328 1885 (between 9:00am - 5:00pm)