Public Forum: Melbourne's Rough Sleeping Ban

Friday, March 17, 2017 - 18:00 to 20:00

March 17th, Friday, 6:00-8 pm.

Multi-cultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

Please join us for a public forum to discuss the implications of Melbourne City Council's proposed amendments to Activities Local Law 2009, popularly described as a ban on rough sleeping in the CBD. 

Despite the powerful implications of this proposal for our city, and particularly its most vulnerable, the City of Melbourne has not convened such a forum, so this is your chance to learn about the issue and make your views heard. Whereas this complex issue has received limited, often sensationalist coverage in the press, our forum aims to take a considered view. We will bring together a range of perspectives to offer some context, and to discuss and debate the legal, social, economic, and moral dimensions of the changed bylaws for Melbourne residents, both housed and unhoused. 

The forum will include a panel of speakers with a spectrum of experience — including advocacy, service provision, academic research, policy, government, and of course personal connections to homelessness and housing insecurity. Public question and comment will follow the panel discussion.

This event coincides with the end of the period for written public submissions on the matter to the Melbourne City Council, which will close at midnight that night (March 17). Each speaker will describe their submission to the Council, and attendees will be encouraged to make their own submissions afterwards. (An internet link and computer terminal will be made available at the event.)

Confirmed speakers at this event include:

Dr Louise Johnson, Professor of Australian Studies, Deakin University; Member, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation: Dr Johnson is an expert in Australian urban geography, and has conducted research on urban planning, economic restructuring, and the built environment.

Dr David Boarder Giles, Lecturer in Anthropology, Deakin University; Member, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation: Giles' research explores the relationships between the global economy, urban redevelopment, and homelessness. He has been interviewed about his work in numerous contexts, including the ABC's Conversations with Richard Fidler, and his book, '"A Mass Conspiracy to Feed People": World-Class Waste and the Struggle for the Global City' is due out next year.

Melanie Raymond, Youth Projects, Homelessness Advisory Committee: Named one of Australia's 100 most influential women by the Australian Financial Review, Raymond sits on the Melbourne City Council's Homelessness Advisory Committee, in addition to having sat on the board of numerous nonprofits and taskforces. Raymond has also been a vocal public commentator on a range of issues connected with homelessness. 

Spike, Homeless Persons Union of Victoria: Spike has co-produced the community radio program "Roominations" on 3CR for five years, dealing with issues of housing and homelessness, and is a founding member of the Homeless Persons Union of Victoria which was involved in an eight-month occupation by homeless activists of publicly-owned properties on Bendigo Street, Collingwood. Spike has also volunteered for the Council to Homeless Persons' Peer Education Support Program and holds an arts degree and a diploma in community development. Moreover, Spike has had up to seventeen years' lived experience of homelessness.

Meaghan Fitzgerald, Fitzroy Legal Service: Fitzgerald is the Manager of Social Action, Policy and Law Reform at Fitzroy Legal Service. Her current role involves community development/legal education activities, conduct of campaigns and law reform projects, and carriage of strategic litigation. Meghan also sits on the Board of Harm Reduction Australia. She has worked extensively with homeless individuals and advocated vocally and publicly for their rights and welfare.

Richard Foster, Former Melbourne City Council Member: As a Councillor, Foster held the portfolio dealing with homelessness from 2012 to 2016. In addition, he has extensive experience working in the community sector and as an academic researching the needs and experiences of housing insecurity and poverty in Victoria.

This event will be co-sponsored by 3CR Community Radio and the Development, Inequality and Well-being Research Stream at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation.

Please circulate this announcement far and wide. We will look forward to seeing you on March 17.