The Victorian Greens have labelled the release of the government’s housing statement this morning as “classic Andrews Labor”, saying that beyond the Premier’s hi-vis and bluster, the reality was that the public housing waiting list and rental stress will continue to grow and get worse over the next decade under the plan.
Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam said that it was incredible that the government had failed to address any of the immediate housing problems in the statement: spiralling rental prices, bringing short stay accommodation onto the rental market, and forcing developers to build enough social and affordable homes.
At the same time she said it was concerning that the government appeared to be laying the groundwork for ending public housing in Victoria.
“With plans to sell off large swathes of public housing land to private property developers as part of the plan to rebuild the 44 public housing towers, today could well be the end of public housing in Victoria.
Ratnam also attacked a lack of meaningful protections for struggling renters saying that closing a single loophole meant next to nothing when a landlord was free to increase rent as high as they want.
“It’s pretty meaningless to prevent a landlord from kicking out a tenant to raise the rent when they are still allowed to raise the rent as high as they like in order to force them out.”
The Greens have consistently said that a rent freeze and caps, short stay regulation, and 30 per cent social and affordable statewide mandates for developers would be key demands in any negotiations with the government over the passage of legislation.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO LEADER OF THE GREENS SAMANTHA RATNAM
“By failing to commit to a rent freeze and ongoing rent controls, the Premier today has abandoned thousands of Victorian renters who are choosing between food on the table and a roof over their heads.
“If Labor really wanted to help renters today, rather than tinkering around the edges they would have announced a 2-year rent freeze, followed by a permanent cap on rent increases.
“There are over 125,000 people on the waiting list for public housing, yet Labor would rather hand over public land to private developers than commit to building the amount of public housing we desperately need.
“The government’s plans could mean the end of public housing in Victoria. They could have committed to build 20,000 new public homes across these sites, yet instead they have chosen to privatise atleast two thirds of all these sites.
“At the same time the government caved in to Airbnb by failing to make available up to 36,000 existing homes for rent.
“The only people out celebrating today will be property developers, landlords and Airbnb.”