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Members statements: Prahran Electorate Homelessness

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran): I rise to speak on homelessness, which is the number one issue that is raised with me by residents of the Prahran electorate. Our community cares about people in need, and we want solutions. There are over 80 000 people on Victoria’s public housing waiting list, hundreds sleeping rough each night and many more in insecure accommodation. The solution is clear. We need a big build of public housing and support for people to maintain those tenancies. But under this government Victoria spends the least on social housing out of all states. And under its renewal plan, in Bangs Street, Prahran, we know it will add over 200 to 300 private units to the site. But it will only increase the number of public housing units by around 12, and it will potentially actually reduce the number of public housing beds overall on the estate. That is privatising around 70 per cent of the estate. For a progressive state this is absolutely shameful. I welcome the government’s change of tack in announcing a build of 1000 new public housing units, including some in the City of Stonnington, despite having previously claimed that privatisation was the only way to fund new homes. Certainly there is capacity on the Horace Petty estate in South Yarra to build more homes. But this is a drop in the ocean of what is needed. To end the homelessness crisis we need more public housing and we need better public housing, not a sell-off plan. I urge the government to abandon its public housing sell-off and make every new unit on the Bangs Street estate public housing, and build more public housing in the Prahran electorate to help end homelessness.