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Scrutiny for Public Housing Renewal Program

Friday, August 11, 2017 - 11:45

Bayside City Council has welcomed the Victorian Legislative Council’s move to refer the State Governments’ Victorian Public Housing Renewal Program to its Standing Committee on Legal and Social Issues.

Communities across Melbourne, including Bayside, have expressed concerns about low level increases in the amount of social housing available from these developments and the minimal opportunities for meaningful community consultation.

Bayside Mayor Cr Alex del Porto said that the 9 August vote to review the program is a step in the right direction.

“These developments are at great risk of prioritising profit over people and creating gross overdevelopment for the sake of high yields,” Cr del Porto said.

“Under current proposals the State Government intends to subvert regular planning processes by transferring decision making for these sites in-house to the Minister for Planning.

“This will see residents being denied their usual rights to participate in standard planning processes and rob them of their ability to make reasonable objections as members of their local communities.

“The right for third-party appeals will be removed, riding roughshod over hard won local planning schemes and delivering buildings that are out of keeping with neighbourhood character.

“This will result in significantly reduced amenity for local residents and only a minimal gain in public housing.

Under the current public private partnership proposals the redevelopments will see high levels of private dwellings on sites previously exclusively for social housing.

“There are already around 35,000 Victorians on waiting lists for public housing and these proposals won’t even make a dent in these numbers,” Cr del Porto said.

“With the levels of public housing explicitly excluded from the scope of the existing consultation on this matter it is essential that the Victorian Parliament acts now to review these proposals to ensure they deliver real benefit to our community.

The Victorian Public Housing Renewal Program currently includes estates in Brunswick, North Melbourne, Heidelberg West, Clifton Hill, Brighton, Prahran, Hawthorn, Northcote and Ascot Vale.  The vote will see the Committee review three additional sites including a smaller development in Bayside’s Hampton.

Bayside City Council has already expressed alarm at the fact that the proposal for the New Street Site in Brighton will result in buildings of up to nine storeys overlooking homes in an area that is only zoned for buildings of up to three storeys.

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