We must stop Labor privatising public housing

We must stop Labor privatising public housing
Adam Bandt

In his final act as Premier, Daniel Andrews announced the sell-off of huge swathes of Melbourne’s remaining public housing.

Forty-four public housing towers are to be demolished and public housing land sold off to developers.

Labor is embarking on the biggest privatisation spree since former Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett.

Among the first to go will be the towers in North Melbourne and Carlton, within the next few years.

These communities are vibrant, diverse and important. The people there have a right to a home.

But instead of using this prime inner-city public land to build more public housing, there may in fact be no public housing left on these sites at all. Some social housing will be rebuilt, and the rest will be given to developers to build expensive apartments.

Labor says people will be relocated and allowed to return, but there’s no guarantee they’ll return to public housing, and it’s unclear if they’ll remain within their communities while they’re waiting, hoping to return.

People will lose connections with schools, doctors, friends, and neighbours.

Labor’s been harbouring these plans for more than a decade now, and sneakily selling off public housing to private developers around our city.

And, as he was on his way out the door, Daniel Andrews simply tore the whole thing down.

Right now, there are 125,000 Victorians in desperate need of public housing. Labor’s plan will see fewer public housing units. Demolished public housing will get replaced with social housing, and Labor will only build 15 additional social homes a year on these sites over the next 28 years, which won’t go anywhere near housing those on huge waiting lists.

The big winners will be the big developers, who get sold public land to build expensive private apartments.

In the middle of a housing crisis, Labor must provide people with housing, not privatise public land and provide developers and investors more profit.

These towers are often in such poor condition because they have been neglected by Labor and Liberal governments for years. If towers do need to be replaced, they need to be replaced with 100 per cent public housing. We should also ask whether they can be renovated, but most importantly, listen to the community.

The housing crisis risks becoming a humanitarian crisis unless Labor agrees with the Greens’ plan to cap and freeze rents, stop privatisation, and build more public housing. •

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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