“Ministers Foley and Wynne are selling the Markham Estate and Bills Street public housing sites to developers who will build a handful of new public housing dwellings while at the same time developing hundreds of apartments to sell on the private market to reap massive profits.

“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.

“That’s why we are calling on the Government to delay the program until the inquiry has been completed and we can ensure redeveloped sites in our municipality are at least 50 percent public housing and do not breach current planning controls.” 

Only 1.3 percent of dwellings in Boroondara are public housing, compared to two percent in the eastern metropolitan region and 3.5 percent across all 31 metropolitan Melbourne local government areas.         “Boroondara needed much more public housing and had less than the surrounding eastern region and metropolitan Melbourne,” Cr Healey said.

“The Alliance unequivocally supports public housing; our communities need better – and much, much more – public housing.” 

The Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Legal and Social Issues is holding a public inquiry into the program. 

“The PHRP is fatally flawed.  It is irresponsible for the Government to proceed with these projects before the parliamentary inquiry has finished.  This is a vital program and it’s vital that we get it right,” Cr Healey added.

Gardiner Ward Councillor, Councillor Coral Ross, said the PHRP will sell large swathes of publicly owned land for private development to facilitate the delivery of very little new public housing.  

“The Government recently introduced a three-storey height limit to provide our communities with certainty but it now plans to include a 10-storey apartment block in the development at Bills Street,” Cr Ross said.   

“Council is willing to consider a building height of up to seven storeys if provided with the opportunity to lead the amendment to the planning scheme to facilitate this. If the normal planning process is followed, Council would consult the community about such changes. Instead, the Minister for Planning is going to sideline Council and the community. 

"The former City of Hawthorn gave and sold this land for public housing. The government needs to put people before profits, just like the City of Hawthorn.” 

Visit www.peoplebeforeprofits.org.au to make a public submission to the Inquiry and learn more about the Alliance’s ‘People before Profits’ campaign.  Submissions must be made by 3 November 2017.