Public housing tenants take legal action to stop the demolition of their homes

Public housing tenants take legal action to stop the demolition of their homes
Cory Memery

Public housing tenants living in 44 high-rise buildings across Melbourne have taken action in the Victorian Supreme Court to halt plans to demolish their homes.

Inner Melbourne Community Legal (IMCL) is acting for the residents. IMCL’s CEO 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.

The full list of high-rise buildings under threat of demolition can be seen at this link:

The Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass – who leaves her position on March 29 this year – found that the Victorian Government breached public housing tenants’ human rights with their COVID-19 lockdowns. I hope the Supreme Court will do the same. 

Albanese has made personal tax cuts fairer – he can do the same to make housing affordable

The PM has had the courage to change unfair tax cuts legislated by the former Morrison government. Albanese’s government will stare down Dutton’s outrage and they can now go further.

Housing costs, both rents and home purchases, are major contributors to inflation.

Howard Liberal National governments handed private investors new wealth opportunities when it reduced capital gains taxes by 50 per cent on dwellings bought and sold by them. The changes fuelled a huge increase in dwelling prices as investors bought and sold existing and new dwellings to simply get rich, not provide affordable housing!

The latest estimates are that $147 billion will be gifted to them over 10 years from 2022/23. 

This money could build up to 500,000 new public homes over the same period if the tax changes were removed.

Instead of demolishing public housing it can be renovated and added to with new construction.

The construction union CFMEU has also demanded the introduction of a tax on the super profits of mining exports to fund public housing construction.

More public housing will halt spiralling rents and reduce inflation in the years ahead. •

Prepared with the assistance of the Save Public Housing Collective

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