Public housing report first test for new Minister


The Victorian Greens have called on the new Housing Minister to urgently implement the recommendations made in the Victorian Ombudsman’s report on the public and community housing complaint resolution system.

The damning report was released by the Ombudsman today and highlights the complete failure of the state government to support public housing residents.

The Greens say this will be the first test of how seriously the Government plans to take the public housing crisis as we head into a state election. 

Chief among the Ombudsman’s recommendations is the proposal to establish a new Social Housing Ombudsman who would hear complaints from public and community housing residents.

This is something the Greens have previously called for after hearing from countless residents who have had no luck getting help from the Government or Homes Victoria. The Greens introduced a bill to establish a Public Housing Ombudsman in 2020.

The Ombudsman’s proposal that housing be included in the Charter of Human Rights is also welcome and significant. It echoes calls made by the Greens earlier this year when they tabled a bill in Parliament to end homelessness and add housing as a right to the Charter. 

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said successive state governments had been actively retreating from building and maintaining public housing for years and that this report laid that bare.

She added that the Ombudsman’s investigation should be a turning point and hopefully lead to residents being treated with respect by the government. 

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

“This report will be a crucial test for our incoming Housing Minister.

“Will he continue to walk away from public housing as the Victorian Labor Government has done for years, or will he back the recommendations made by the Ombudsman today?

“For too long, public housing residents have been treated like second-class citizens and have been dismissed and ignored by governments.  We urge the new Minister to implement the recommendations made by the Ombudsman today as a matter of urgency.

“This report highlights that the government must update the legislation that affords public and community housing residents their right to live in adequate housing. 

“The government can’t keep privatising public housing and ignoring its disastrous consequences because clearly that approach has failed Victorians for years.”