House debates

Tuesday, 17 October 2023

Constituency Statements

Melbourne Electorate: Public Housing

4:00 pm

Photo of Adam BandtAdam Bandt (Melbourne, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

We must stop Labor privatising public housing. Public housing is a human right. But in his final act as premier, Daniel Andrews announced the sell-off of much of Melbourne's remaining public housing land. Forty-four public housing towers are to be demolished and a majority of public housing land sold off to developers. It's the biggest privatisation spree since former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett. Labor really is a party of the centre-right now.

North Melbourne's and Carlton's towers will be the first to go. People will be kicked out of their homes within the next few years. It is wrong to destroy these vibrant and diverse communities. The people there have a right to a home—a public home. But, instead of renovating or replacing, Labor is moving to end public housing in Melbourne. According to their plan, some social housing will be rebuilt, and the rest of the land will be given to developers to build expensive apartments. This is of no comfort to the current residents. Labor says the people will be relocated and then allowed to return. But at what cost?

Labor is letting these people down. These towers might need a reno, but they have created strong communities—communities who have stood together through tough times, like the pandemic lockdowns, and learnt to support each other. They are tough, and they don't deserve to be turfed out so that private developers and property investors can make even more money. Communities are going to be torn apart if this goes ahead. People will lose connections with schools, doctors, friends and neighbours.

For over a decade now, Labor has been flipping public housing to private developers, but this is the biggest sell-off—and a huge win for the property developers and investors. Shame on Labor for tearing down people's homes and selling off their communities. There are 125,000 Victorians who are in desperate need of public housing, and when you tear down all the towers, this number will increase. Labor is making the problem worse. Under their plan, the demolished towers will be replaced with 15 additional social homes a year over the next 28 years. That's the net benefit: 15 a year; that's it. 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, the Greens will keep fighting to cap and freeze rents and to build more public and genuinely affordable housing. We need to build more public housing. When you privatise public land you don't house people; you just provide developers and investors with more profit. Public housing is a human right. In the middle of a housing crisis, it's outrageous to be selling off public housing for profit. Labor is letting people down.