Labor's decision to evict 68-year-old from public housing estate 'devastating and unnecessary': Greens


The Victorian Greens have called a decision by Homes Victoria and the Victorian Labor Government to evict Margaret Kelly from her home of 25 years “devastating and unnecessary”, and yet another example of public housing residents being treated like second-class citizens.

Last month the Government launched VCAT proceedings against Margaret to evict her from the Barak Beacon public housing estate in Port Melbourne.

This is because the Government plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars demolishing the estate and privatising the land.

Under the Government’s plan, the public homes on the estate will be demolished and replaced with majority privately-owned and privately managed housing and some community housing.

For months the Government has been ramping up its pressure on residents like Margaret to leave, by fencing off parts of the estate and demolishing fences, doors, windows, and the children’s playground.

It also launched VCAT proceedings against Margaret, which this week devastatingly saw the Tribunal hand Margaret an eviction notice.

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said in the midst of a housing crisis, knocking down public homes and booting out residents for the sake of privatisation was criminal. 

The Government’s public-private housing program has completely failed and is the reason we are seeing the public housing waitlist grow, while homelessness worsens. 

Ms Ratnam added that Margaret, as well as every other public housing resident in the state, had the right to a secure and affordable home, and that this week’s decision showed the Government’s utter contempt for public housing and public housing residents.

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

“In the midst of a housing crisis, evicting public housing residents and demolishing public homes when no contracts for reconstruction have been awarded is criminal. 

“Margaret will now be forced to leave her home of 25 years because this Government is utterly addicted to privatisation, and refuses to keep public land in public hands.

“If other estates are anything to go by, Barak Beacon will be flattened and no homes will be rebuilt for years like we saw at the Walker Estate in Northcote, where the site has laid vacant for five years. 

“We know there are over 120,000 people on our state’s public housing waiting list, yet instead of building more public and affordable homes, this Government wants to knock our existing stock down.

“The Greens will continue to fight for investment in public and affordable homes, and a housing system that puts people before profit.

“The Premier is out this week spruiking more money for housing yet at the same time evicting pensioners and handing public land to developers for profit. It’s hard to believe Victorian Labor will be able to deliver on their housing promises given their failing model and their recent complete mismanagement of the Commonwealth Games.”