State and local Greens push Victorian Government to invest in public housing


The Victorian Greens have ramped up their pressure on the Victorian Labor Government to build more public and affordable housing, with the Member for Richmond preparing a fiery speech to deliver in Parliament.

In a grievance motion set to be delivered tomorrow, Gabrielle de Vietri will call out the Government over its decision to walk back a commitment to build social and affordable housing as part of the Fitzroy Gasworks development.

Right now there are over 120,000 people on our state’s public housing waiting list, up to 30,000 Victorians are at risk of or experience homelessness on any given night.

Despite this, the Victorian Government appears to have wound back a 2018 commitment to build “a full 20 per cent public, social and affordable housing” in perpetuity on the Fitzroy Gasworks site, to only offering a 10 per cent discount on rents on some of the 1200 private units for the next ten years.

And even that watered down commitment has been thrown into doubt, with a letter issued to Yarra Councillors last week saying that the Government’s plans for affordable housing on the site had been paused.

This means over three hectares of land, intended to be “an exemplar of urban design”, bought and decontaminated at tax-payers’ expense, is now set to be going to private developers for market-rate property.

Ms de Vietri said in light of the Federal Government’s recent decision to invest $2 billion dollars in social housing – $496 million of which is reportedly set to be used in Victoria – it was time for a long overdue commitment to public housing in the Richmond electorate, including significant investment in publicly owned and operated housing at the Fitzroy Gasworks vacant site.

The Greens councillors in the City of Yarra have also put additional pressure on the Victorian Government tonight, after resolving in their Council meeting to ask for an investment in public housing in the municipality at the following state-owned sites:

  • The vacant public land at Fitzroy Gasworks
  • The underutilised police warehouse on Wellington Street in Collingwood
  • The Provans timber warehouse in Clifton Hill

This could amount to up to 2,000 units of new public housing in the municipality.

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens renters rights spokesperson, Gabrielle de Vietri MP:

“In the midst of a housing crisis, it beggars belief that this Government is walking back commitments to build social and affordable housing that were already weak to begin with.

“Until this Government seriously invests in public housing, homelessness will get worse, not better. Housing waiting lists will get longer. More people will be forced to live in cars, accept dangerous rooming houses, or sleep rough.

“The Greens are urging the Government to recommit to using the Fitzroy Gasworks site to build at least 20 per cent social and affordable housing, and to reassess the remaining residential land for its potential to be used for public housing.”

Quotes attributable to public housing tenant and City of Yarra Councillor, Anab Mohamud:

“Lots of people are struggling in our community right now. We want the state government to build more public housing so that everyone has a secure home to live in. 

“The government owns a lot of vacant public land in Yarra and we want to make sure it doesn’t end up in the hands of greedy property developers. Instead of demolishing public housing, and handing public land to private developers, Labor should build public housing. Labor has a responsibility, and now the funds, to rethink the future of Gasworks and other sites in Yarra for public housing for those in need.”