The Victorian Greens have welcomed Yarra Council’s rejection of a development proposal in Abbotsford that would have seen public land ripped from public hands and given to private developers for free.
The proposal, championed by Councillor Stephen Jolly and backed by Labor Planning Minister Richard Wynne, advocated for a public-private model of housing, which, in a bizarre about-face by Cr Jolly, is a model he campaigned against in the 2018 election as his main election issue.
It would have seen 100 expensive private apartments built, with some social and affordable housing tacked on to make the dodgy deal more palatable.
Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said it was outrageous that both Cr Jolly and Minister Wynne wanted to give away precious public land to property developers to make a huge profit, rather than keeping it in public hands.
She added that at a time when over 100,000 Victorians were in need of a safe and secure home, giving away public land to developers was negligent at best and heartless at worst.
Ms Ratnam said she was glad that a Greens motion to keep this land in public hands to pursue building 100 per cent social housing on the adjacent property and a maternal health centre, library and community facilities on the Council-owned part of the site was passed by councillors instead.
Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:
"I’m outraged that Cr Jolly was trying to give away public land to greedy developers, something he literally campaigned against during the last election. The community should be outraged by this proposal too.
"We have a homelessness crisis in Victoria and at a time when we need more social housing homes built, Cr Jolly and Richard Wynne want to rip away public land for private profit.
"The Greens councillors put forward a proposal to build social housing as well as a maternal health centre on this site. Their motion was passed at the Yarra Council meeting tonight.
"I find it bizarre that Cr Jolly is refusing to support public housing and residents on low incomes, especially women, by refusing to support a maternal health centre and 100 per cent social housing on this site and is instead pushing to give this land to private developers. I think his voters would be pretty disappointed by this.
"The Greens will always stand up to private property developers and the State Government who seem to always do their bidding. The Greens stand for more public housing, even when the Labor Government and other Councillors refuse to."