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Developers cash-in on social housing

a row of townhouses

Monday, October 30, 2017

Visit www.peoplebeforeprofits.org.au to make a public submission to the Inquiry and learn more about the Alliance’s People before Profits campaign. Submissions must be made by 3 November 2017.

Developers cash-in on social housing

A State Government program which will sell public housing sites to developers, breaches its own planning controls and will barely make a dent in the public housing waiting list has been slammed by an alliance of Melbourne councils.

Bayside City Council has formed an Alliance with the Cities of Stonnington and Boroondara to challenge the Public Housing Renewal Program (PHRP) and is urging the Minister for Housing, Martin Foley and Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, to put people before profits. 

Bayside Mayor, Cr del Porto said the Victorian Parliament shared these concerns, with the Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Legal and Social Issues holding a Public Inquiry into the program.

“The Alliance unequivocally supports public housing; our communities need better – and much, much more – public housing,” Cr del Porto said.

“But the PHRP will deliver very little new public housing, breaches the Government’s own recently-introduced planning rules, and sidelines councils and communities from the planning process.

“In our community this means that in spite of hundreds of new apartments, in towers of up to nine storeys being constructed on the New Street Social housing site in Brighton, the net increase in social housing dwelling will be a tiny 12 units.

“That’s why we are calling on the Government to delay the program until the Inquiry has been completed and we can ensure redeveloped sites in our municipality are at least 50% public housing and do not breach current planning controls.”

Research conducted by NERA Economic Consulting/Sensing Value found that the 10% increase in public housing stock envisaged by the State Government will still leave a massive shortfall in public housing required in the City of Bayside.

“Ministers Foley and Wynne are selling the New Street social housing site to developers who will build a handful of new public housing dwellings while at the same time developing hundreds of apartments to sell on the private market to reap massive profits,” Cr del Porto said.

“The Government has recently introduced a three-storey height limit to provide our communities with certainty but it now plans to build huge nine-storey apartments towering over playgrounds and robbing residents of open space. It needs to put people before profits.”

“The PHRP is fatally flawed. It is irresponsible for the Government to proceed before the Parliamentary Inquiry has finished. This is a vital program and it’s vital that we get it right,” Cr del Porto added