The Greens will today join public housing residents in Port Melbourne for a rally to fight an ‘appalling and cruel’ Victorian Labor Government decision to knock down their estate and privatise it.
Just weeks before Christmas in 2021, residents at the Barak Beacon public housing estate in Port Melbourne were door-knocked by departmental officers informing them they would need to leave their homes as a matter of urgency.
Barak Beacon is prime real estate close to Port Melbourne’s beaches, and the Labor Government wants to syphon off the majority of this land for private development continuing this Government’s retreat from public housing.
Under the Government’s plan, existing public homes will be replaced with a mix of new community, affordable and market rental homes, meaning that public homes will be replaced with privately-owned and privately managed housing.
There will be no public housing rebuilt on the site.
In the midst of a housing crisis, governments need to be building tens of thousands of public homes, not privatising the only land we have to increase public housing supply.
Since that initial door-knock, a number of residents have left. However a handful still remain, and are fighting to keep their homes in the face of a Government hell-bent on its own privatisation agenda.
In recent weeks, the Government has increased pressure on the remaining tenants to leave and even threatened them with VCAT proceedings.
Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said there were residents at Barak Beacon who had lived there for decades and shouldn’t be evicted from their homes to help line the pockets of property developers.
Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens Samantha Ratnam MLC:
“We are in a housing crisis and the Government has a responsibility to ensure all Victorians have access to a safe, affordable and secure home.
“Yet Labor keeps walking away from public housing and continues to give property developers special deals, handing them huge profits.
“They’d rather privatise this public land offering property developers bay views instead of building more public housing.
“We need a housing system that puts people before profit.”
Quotes attributable to Australian Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP:
“Around the country, Labor governments are walking away from public housing.
“Under Labor, public housing is going backwards and the housing waiting list is growing longer. In Victoria at least 57,000 families are on the waiting list, with 36,459 of those waiting in desperate and urgent circumstances.
“To tackle the housing crisis, governments need to start building and owning public housing again.
“Labor needs to negotiate with the Greens on the Housing Australian Future Fund to guarantee and increase the annual spend on public housing, and work with National Cabinet to implement a rent freeze across the country.”