Inquiry into housing renewal

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image public housing estate

Over the last few weeks there has been increasing debate about the State Government’s plans to redevelop eight or nine of Melbourne’s rundown public housing estates.

Most recently, the Legislative Council provided a reference to the Standing Committee on Legal and Social Issues to hold an inquiry into renewal program. You can read the detailed terms of reference of the inquiry here. The proposed increase in public housing units of at least 10 per cent; the impact on the existing tenants; the mix of public and private units; and, the density and loss of public space are amongst many items listed.

Scrutiny of the program is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the danger is that the program could be delayed or derailed.

Our ageing public housing estates are extremely rundown to the point of being beyond mere renovation and not acting is no longer an option. Public housing tenants deserve to live in well-located, quality housing. Redevelopments of public housing of this scale are extremely ambitious and controversial, which is why they have been in the too hard basket for too long. We believe that total replacement of the public housing on these sites with social housing integrated into new, mixed use precincts is the right outcome for tenants and the community.

We would like to participate in a constructive debate about what is possible on these sites and we believe that community housing has many positive contributions to make:

  • enhanced community engagement to provide tenants, the neighbouring community and other key stakeholders with quality information and an opportunity to have input into the redevelopments
  • increased uplift in the number of social and affordable units delivered on the sites
  • on-going place management services to rebuild communities once tenants return.

Our involvement in social housing is for the long haul so we have a vested interest in ensuring the ongoing success of any redevelopments. The recent announcement of the redevelopment of the Ivanhoe public housing estate in Sydney provides a glimpse of what is possible when government, the community and the private sector work together – see the article below.