Our public housing is in crisis. There are more than 35,000 applicants on the Victorian Government’s public and community housing waiting list and the infrastructure is past its use-by date.
Boroondara has less public housing than the surrounding eastern region and Metropolitan Melbourne. A total of 1.3 per cent of Boroondara dwellings are public housing, compared to 2.0 per cent of the Eastern Metropolitan Region dwellings, and 3.5 per cent of dwellings across all 31 metropolitan Melbourne local government areas.
So when we first heard about the Victorian Government’s plan to redevelop our dilapidated public housing stock and increase the number of dwellings, we were thrilled. But our excitement was short-lived.
As we discovered, with the redevelopment of Markham Estate in Ashburton and Bills Street in Hawthorn, the Victorian Government is planning to only increase public housing by 10 per cent. This increase doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of our public housing crisis.
To make matters worse, they plan to fund the tiny increase by selling off most of the land occupied by these public housing estates to developers. Once the land is sold, any opportunity to add public housing in the future is lost.
The Victorian Government also wants to remove Council’s right as the responsible authority to consider and determine any planning application for these developments, effectively denying our community the right to object and to an independent appeal process. They are simply providing developers with a free kick and an opportunity to build on a scale that would not otherwise be even remotely entertained.
If this is the Victorian Government’s plan to tackle the crisis, then they are planning to fail. The only winner will be the developers who profit from our public housing crisis.
We need more public housing. It is an important safety net for vulnerable members of our community.
Council has consistently and strongly advocated to the Victorian Government for an increase in the number of public housing dwellings. We need your support. Please email the Minister for Housing and the Minister for Planning to voice your concerns.
Invitation to attend a ward meeting on the proposal for the Bills Street Hawthorn public housing estate
A public meeting for all residents in the affected area is taking place on Wednesday 9 August 2017 to inform the community about Council’s position on the project.
The meeting will be held in the pavilion at H.A. Smith Reserve, 458 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn between 7pm and 8.30pm. Parking is available at Vision Australia, 454 Glenferrie Road, Kooyong. Limited parking is also available at the Kooyong Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road, Kooyong.
If you are interested in attending please RSVP by contacting Council's Governance Department on 9278 4473 during office hours or via email.
Cr Phillip Healey