Members Statement: Public Housing

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — I rise to oppose the government's sell-off of public housing land to private developers, including at Bangs Street in Prahran. We need more public housing and we need better public housing, not a sell-off plan that will only slightly increase the number of units, reduce capacity by reducing the number of bedrooms, and forever limit the amount of public housing that can be put on these estates by selling off around 70 per cent of the estate.

What we know about Bangs Street is that the proposal is for 350 to 450 units, which is around triple or four times what is already there, but only 132 of them will be public housing, an increase of just 12. This public housing renewal plan is straight out of the neoliberal economic playbook: run-down and underinvest in a public asset, then claim that privatisation is the only way to solve the problem. This is public land that should be used for public housing and for the public good, not sold off to make super profits for property developers. The real value of the land that this public housing is on is not the monetary value that can be gained from selling it off but the fact that public housing tenants can live in the inner city and can live close to public transport, close to services, close to jobs and close to communities that care about public housing tenants, like Prahran.

We were right to put the brakes on this proposal, and I would urge the government to rethink this privatisation of public housing and to work with us to increase public housing on these estates that fits within the existing planning scheme to address the massive homelessness problem and the public housing waiting list.