A new Victorian Housing Minister
I welcome the appointment of Mr Colin Brooks as the new Victorian Minister for Housing and look forward to him improving public housing by first assessing in detail the programs of the Andrews Government.
Last year I worked with other tenants to successfully secure security doors in all units in a block in Carlton and it has been great to see new maintenance projects announced for five estates and that local residents will be involved in overseeing their roll out.
I strongly urge Minister Brooks to meet with the not-for-profit design and research design team which have completed “Retain, Repair and Reinvest” studies on the Ascot Vale and Barak Beacon (Port Melbourne) estates to demonstrate how these estates and others can be retained and have more public housing built.
Early signs, though, are that Minister Brooks has let Homes Victoria press on with its harsh treatment of remaining residents at the Barak Beacon estate. They have all been given a notice to advise what they are doing about relocation offers or be evicted! Follow what is happening here and join the residents Facebook group to be in solidarity with them: facebook.com/groups/1210658333087123
A national plan to meet the housing affordability crisis
Already in January we are seeing signals on the deepening affordability crisis for millions of people across the country.
A film was recently shown on ABC TV (after its release last year) that documents the housing insecurity and homelessness of more than 400,000 older single women was clear on the depth of the crisis. See here.
To date all we have seen from the federal government is a start to its social and so-called affordable housing program with a grant to a South Australian government project on a public housing estate demolished years ago. It has been curiously branded a “Build to Rent” project. See here.
With the Commonwealth Games being held across Victorian regional centres in 2026, the federal government has already offered funds to build games housing. There are fears in these communities that private rental housing will become even more unaffordable and that there will be a new drive to demolish public housing estates and redevelop for games accommodation needs.
A new plan is needed with the following key elements:
- Legislate in all Australian parliaments the right to secure, affordable housing for everyone;
- Return to investment in public housing. Don’t demolish it. Retain, repair and reinvest using the OFFICE concepts;
- Withdraw the $10 Billion invested in the Future Fund that will now only deliver under $600 million a year instead of Labor’s election promise of closer to $1 billion a year and spend it all on new public housing over the next three years while a plan for ongoing spending is put to the federal parliament; and
- Introduce mandatory inclusionary zoning in private housing developments to secure land to build public housing in all states and territories. •
Photo credit: Chris McClay