Greens back peaceful public housing occupation to protect Port Melbourne estate from demolition


The Victorian Greens have thrown their support behind community members currently occupying the Barak Beacon public housing estate in Port Melbourne.

Last month, the Victorian Labor Government began demolishing the estate as part of a plan to replace the public homes with majority privately-owned and privately managed housing.

However, last night a group of community members and activists commenced a ‘sit-in’ in the remaining units on the site to prevent any further demolition.

The occupation has also been staged in solidarity with Margaret Kelly, the estate’s last remaining resident, who has been pressured by the Government to leave despite Barak Beacon being her home for over two decades. 

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said in the midst of a housing crisis, governments needed to be building more public homes, not knocking them down and privatising public land.

She added that the Government’s plan would likely see residents like Margaret turfed out, only for the site to remain vacant for years to come, as has been the case with other public housing estates demolished by this Government like the Walker Estate in Northcote.

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

“Every time Labor bulldozes and privatises a public home, the housing crisis gets worse.

“There are currently over 120,000 people on our state’s public housing waitlist, yet rather than build the public and affordable housing they need, the Victorian Labor Government wants to privatise the last remaining public housing land. 

“The Greens are in solidarity with the passionate community members currently occupying the remaining units at Barak Beacon. 

“This Government needs to decide whose side it’s on - the countless Victorians currently struggling to keep a roof over their head, or wealthy property giants.”