The City of Boroondara and the Proper Planning for Public Housing Alliance councils have presented their submissions to the parliamentary inquiry into the Public Housing Renewal Program and called on the Victorian Government to deliver substantially more public housing than is currently proposed through the program.
The alliance includes the Cities of Bayside, Boroondara and Stonnington.
Councillor Jim Parke, Mayor of Boroondara, said that the uplift in public housing proposed by the program needs to be exponentially increased to stem the public housing crisis and meet the expected demand of more than 1,100 more public housing dwellings in alliance member council areas in the five years to 2022.
“The land within the alliance councils should be redeveloped in a manner that meets the projected public housing needs of our councils. If the bulk of the housing on these sites is redeveloped for public housing, it will significantly reduce the shortfall which exists,” Cr Parke said.
“We have a fundamental objection to the sale of public land for private gain, particularly where the net community benefit is negligible.
“The Government’s approach of trading the delivery of a combined total of 31 new public housing apartments within the alliance councils in exchange for large swathes of land to build close to 1,000 private apartments for private “super-profits” is neither an adequate nor an appropriate response to the public housing crisis.
“The Government could and should provide substantially more public housing on the sites by decreasing or removing the private units and making less or no profit out of the redevelopment.
“We call on the Government to delay the program until the parliamentary inquiry has been completed,” Cr Parke said.
The Alliance councils also called for the Victorian Government to reinstate local councils as the responsible planning authorities and allow the community their normal third-party review rights.
Councillor Coral Ross, Gardiner Ward Councillor where the Bills Street Hawthorn public housing redevelopment is proposed, said that it is not necessary to change the status of the responsible authority from Council to the Minister for Planning.
“Our councils, in their ordinary roles as the responsible authority, are entirely qualified, capable and experienced in assessing and determining planning applications of equal or greater complexity than is currently proposed, within the timeframes allowed for by the Act,” Cr Ross said.
“We are willing and able to work with the Government to deliver public housing projects that meet projected demands for public housing and high quality design-led development complying with local planning policies.
“We strongly believe that the size of the Bills Street site should accommodate substantially more than five additional public apartments,” she said.
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