Tenants' funding withdrawn
By Alex Bainbridge
MELBOURNE — Thirty people gathered outside the office of the Victorian minister for housing, Rob Knowles, on November 30 to protest against the withdrawal of government funding of the Public Tenants Union (PTU), Shelter Victoria, Youth Accommodation Coalition and WISH (Women In Supported Housing).
The protest was in solidarity with 15 PTU representatives occupying the minister's office and followed a protest of 40 people outside Parliament House that morning.
The PTU is the peak group representing tenants in public housing and public tenant organisations. It takes up issues such as maintenance fraud, rent rebates, public housing standards, increased public housing and the impact policy has on tenants. No other organisation does this work.
The withdrawal of funding from the PTU has been accompanied by a 50% cut in funding to all existing local public tenant organisations. Concerns have been raised that the ministry plans to close these organisations down as well, since the Brunswick Public Tenants Association, for instance, has been given a budget for only seven months.