Member Statement: Public Housing

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — I recently attended a community barbecue hosted by the South Yarra Public Tenants Association at the Horace Petty estate. There I had a chance to meet residents and discuss any concerns they had. Many residents are elderly and have a Russian background, and we spoke with the assistance of a Russian interpreter.

The Prahran electorate has several public housing estates: Horace Petty in South Yarra, one on Bangs and King streets in Prahran, one on Union Street in Windsor and Inkerman Heights in St Kilda. Around 90 per cent of my office's constituent casework is on behalf of public housing tenants, addressing issues such as security, maintenance and tenancy, and it is work my office is proud to do. Since my election we have covered incidents of public housing tenants being exploited through the offering of inducements to sign up to inappropriate vocational education and training courses and raised the unacceptable conditions created by pigeon infestation.

It is clear that staff from the office of housing do a good job under often difficult circumstances and with limited resources. We need greater investment from the government to improve and increase the supply of public housing. As stated by South Yarra Public Tenants Association chairperson Ana Rufatt-Ruiz, it is critical that tenants, staff and elected representatives work together to improve our public housing estates. Ana and the community are passionate about sticking up for tenants, as are staff, and I share in that passion. There is still far too much stigma associated with public housing estates and residents. Many public housing tenants are house proud and community minded. The Greens and I will be standing up for them in Parliament.