Public housing tenants rally against demolitions

October 25, 2023
Public housing tenants at the rally. Photo: Jacob Andrewartha

More than 100 people, including public housing tenants, rallied at the Collingwood Estate on October 21 to oppose the demolition of 44 public housing towers.

Yarra City Councillors Stephen Jolly, Michael Glynatsis and Bridgid O’Brien initiated the rally in response to the Victorian Labor government’s plans to demolish the towers for public-private developments.

Jolly, who chaired the rally, said only community action could “stop the wholesale destruction of our public space”. He said Labor’s housing plans will only benefit “property developers and push diverse communities out of Melbourne”.

Robbie Thorpe, from the Krautungalung tribe of the Gunnai nation, who previously lived on the Collingwood Estate, said many First Nations people rely on public housing and that colonisation ensured many remained homeless.

Greens leader and Melbourne MP Adam Bandt said Victoria’s housing announcement is part of a broader trend to “give up on public housing”. He described it as privatisation by stealth.

Public housing tenants from different estates addressed the rally.

Valentyna Frolova, a resident from Wellington Street, was angry at plans to sell public land to private developers. She announced she “will not be moving out”.

Aisha Abdi, a public housing tenant for more than 20 years, expressed concern about housing for future generations. She said the demolitions disrupt tenants’ lives.

Katherine Ceballos, a resident from the Carlton Estate, slammed the sell-offs saying they are an attempt to drive public housing tenets into the suburbs. They prefer “people with means living in the inner city over people like us”.

Rachel Evans from Action for Public Housing in Gadi/Sydney concluded the rally, expressing solidarity and urging a national public housing campaign.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.