Public housing demolitions are being seriously challenged

Public housing demolitions are being seriously challenged
Cory Memery

The Victorian Legislative Council has voted to conduct an Inquiry into the decision of the state government to demolish all of 44 Melbourne public housing towers.

Labor MPs tried to stop it happening but the motion sponsored by Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam gained the support of the Opposition and crossbench MPs to vote them down.

This means the state government will have to reveal in full detail why they want to demolish the homes of 10,000 adults and children, many of whom are aged or have disabilities with established support networks where they now live.

Why does a Labor government want public housing demolished?

The Victorian Government has signed up to a National Housing Accord with the Albanese government, committing to see 800,000 new dwellings constructed in our state over the next 10 years.

This rate of construction has never been achieved in the past. In the 12 months to January, only 51,068 dwellings were approved – down 17.6 per cent on the same 12-month period the year before. High interest rates, inflated prices and now collapsing home building companies are ensuring it will stay low in the private market in the years ahead.

The Save Public Housing Collective believes this is the driving force behind the decision to demolish public housing and triple the density of housing on land where it now stands. They own the land and they do not care about current residents’ health and wellbeing, so they are trying meet targets that can’t be met by the private sector alone.

When you visit the estates, though, it is impossible to see how they can have this increase in density without loss of green open space.

Don’t demolish: refurbish and build more

A letter from a public housing tenant published in The Age recently exposed the lie towers need to be demolished because of structural and repair issues:

“I reside in one 20-storey [tower] in the inner north. Starting in 2009 the exterior concrete panels were inspected by engineers and any defects rectified. Then two floors at a time the nine flats on each floor were stripped to bare concrete and rebuilt. Insulation, new electrical wiring and plumbing, new windows, security screens/doors, new modern kitchen, new bathroom, carpets and blinds. Cost over $1 million per floor. The lifts were completely upgraded then the foyers and RFID tag access to enter. Over half the towers were refurbished like this. The building is solid. It has passed its 45-year certification.” Jeff N

In my May column I will explore ways to actually deliver affordable housing for renters and first home buyers. The Australian Greens MP Max Chamber-Mather is on message and Labor is panicking.

Support the No Demolitions Campaign

You can send messages to the Victorian Premier and the Housing Minister


*Prepared with the assistance of the Save Public Housing Collective •

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