Margaret Kelly is refusing to leave her home!

Margaret Kelly is refusing to leave her home!
Cory Memery

VCAT has supported Homes Victoria’s application for evicting Margaret but she is refusing to leave her home at the Barak Beacon public housing estate in Port Melbourne. 

Margaret has been joined by supporters who have occupied empty homes on the estate. Her incredibly brave stand in resisting the Victorian Government’s plans to continue demolishing public housing and replace it with a majority of market rental housing has to be supported.

The proposed redevelopment will have 126 full market rent homes, 126 with 10 per cent discounted market rent homes for “essential workers” and a mere 98 community housing dwellings with fewer bedrooms than the current public housing. 

Follow and please join the campaign: it’s not over.

Updates on other demolished public housing estates

Other estates that have been demolished under the original Public Housing Renewal Program – now absorbed into the Big Housing Build – such as at Walker St, Northcote (demolished in 2020) has only seen redevelopment starting up in May this year – six years after its initial announcement. 

The demolished estate will be replaced with community housing provider managed – not public – housing and private dwellings for sale on a 30:70 ratio in favour of private. In 2021, developer MAB was seeking off-the-plan sales for $3 million homes!

Homes Victoria has been depending on a private developer to gain sales at prices they want before building anything. It is not good public policy delivering affordable housing. It is a developer profits first policy.

Having failed to get developer interest in the same outcome as Walker St, Homes Victoria fully funded the redevelopment of Dunlop Ave, Ascot Vale delivering 100 community housing and 100 market/discounted market rent dwellings. There are already reports of significant defects from tenants. 

Evolve Housing is running the whole estate and collecting the rents. Evolve Housing was only first registered as a community housing provider in Victoria in early 2022. Chris Eccles who had to resign his position with the state government during the inquiry into COVID-19 hotel accommodation is a board member.

Thousands of public housing tenants have been relocated under these programs into empty public housing, community housing and high cost leased and bought private housing, all adding to the rental crisis across Victoria. It’s costing the state government a fortune and is not reducing the waiting list of now 126,000 adults and children and growing.

Independent regulation of public, community and affordable housing?

Mystery continues to surround this proposal by the previous Labor Government. 

The government received a final report on 31 May 2022, following consultations on an Interim Report:

Independent oversight of housing providers, including Homes Victoria, may be too much for the current government to accept, particularly given criticisms were made of community housing providers’ treatment of residents in the Interim Report. Attempts to include “affordable” housing in a new regulation regime may also be too hard for the state government. •

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