Tenants rally to save Victoria’s public housing

Two hundred people rallied in Melbourne on July 18 to protest against plans to sell public housing to private owners and call for an increase in public housing.

Greens MP Adam Bandt told the rally: “The state government will soon decide on the future of Melbourne’s public housing. We don’t know exactly what they have planned, but they want to increase rents and make access short term for people using it.”

In Melbourne, about 7000 people are living on the streets. There are now 3000 people on the public housing waiting list.

Fiona Ross from Friends of Public Housing said: “Public housing is under attack from the [Ted] Baillieu government. It is a beneficial public asset as it is affordable and gives people the security of tenure they need to maintain their health, raise a family and build stronger communities. It also houses people according to need and without judgement, whereas profit is the bottom line of the private sector.

“Tenants did not cause the housing crisis. Both Liberal and Labor governments did by giving away public housing to private providers. Public housing belongs to the people.”

[For more details about the campaign, contact Friends of Public Housing at FOPHVic@gmail.com.]


Photos by Anna McCombe

Comments

The populistic trend to sell and privatize public/social housing have since some years been copied by many national and local governements. In Australia, including the state of Victoria, which has the lowest levels of security of tenure in the private rental stock among developed countries worldwide, public housing is very much needed. Lack of affordbale housing is not spirited away by simply just pretending it does not exist. Furthermore, rental housing, private as well as public, should be on a level playing field with homeownership in order to prevent segregation and social exclusion, and to provide for the right of choice of tenure for everyone. / Magnus Hammar, Secretary General, Intrenational Union of Tenants www.iut.nu