Cost of demolishing public housing estate and privatising land revealed, as Greens urge rethink


The Victorian Greens have condemned the Victorian Labor Government for its plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars demolishing public housing estates to privatise the land and line the pockets of private developers.

The Government is currently in the process of demolishing the Barak Beacon public housing estate in Port Melbourne, and pressuring its remaining residents to leave.

This is so the Government can privatise the land and re-build mostly private homes on it, with only some community housing on site.

And now, the financial cost of relinquishing this public land has been revealed. 

According to architecture and research firm OFFICE, the costs of demolishing and privatising four estates in Melbourne which have been packaged into a single tender (including Barak Beacon) include:

  • $259.8 million dollars for the project development, market testing, and procurement costs. 
  • $1 million dollars to each of the three tenders that are selected, so they can develop their proposals.
  • $16.2 million to evict and relocate residents.
  • The unknown costs associated with demolishing the buildings and clearing the site.
  • $474.6 million to provide quarterly service payments to the developer over the 40-year-lease.

With 554 community housing units set to be built across the four estates, the above figures amount to a whopping $1.3 million dollars per community housing unit, while the majority of these estates will be kept for private for-profit homes.

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said it was disgraceful that this Government was happy to spend half a billion dollars helping rich developers get richer at the expense of public housing and public housing residents. 

She said in the midst of a housing crisis, we needed to be building much more public housing, not walk away from it.

In the past week, the Government has begun fencing off parts of the Barak Beacon estate and trashing fences, doors, windows, and the children’s playground, ahead of the estate’s demolition.

This is despite no building contract yet to be awarded, and several residents refusing to leave.

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:

“In the midst of a housing crisis, knocking down public homes and booting out residents for the sake of private development is criminal.

“There are currently over 120,000 people on our state’s public housing waiting list - yet rather than build more public homes, this Government continues to retreat.

“And now we know the significant cost involved as well.

“The hundreds of millions of dollars the Government is prepared to give to developers should instead be invested in building more public and affordable homes.”