Question without Notice: South Yarra public housing
Mr HIBBINS: My question is for the Minister for Housing. Minister, Azra has lived in South Yarra’s public housing towers for 17 years. In that time her home has never been upgraded. She is forced to stuff old newspapers to fill gaps in the windows to keep the cold out, mould and rising damp are spread throughout the unit and the kitchen and stove are old, outdated and in poor condition. Minister, when can Azra and other residents of the South Yarra public housing towers
expect their homes to be brought up to a standard we would all expect?
Mr PEARSON (Minister for Housing): If the member for Prahran would like to provide me with details, I am very happy to follow that up. But I do want to make the point that the member for Prahran and the Greens political party have opposed every single investment in social housing pursued by this government since 2014. Every single one, they have opposed. You have not delivered a single piece of housing infrastructure.
The SPEAKER: Order! Through the Chair, Minister.
Dr Read: On a point of order, Speaker, we welcome all friendly advice, but that could not be relevant at all.
Mr PEARSON: On the point of order, Speaker, it is entirely relevant because we cannot be lectured by those opposite on these questions, given the fact that they have consistently opposed every single investment.
The SPEAKER: Order! I ask the minister to come back to the question.
Mr PEARSON: As I said, I am very happy to get the details and follow it up. But it is important that we make sure that we continue to invest in our housing stock. I am delighted that my predecessor, the member for Richmond, made such a huge contribution to this state—$5.3 billion with the Big Housing Build, the single biggest investment in social housing in the nation’s history. The reality is that we have been opposed by those opposite, and those of us on this side of the house do remember Markham and do remember when the Greens political party and the Liberal Party used, in the other
place, a disallowance motion to prevent that redevelopment from occurring.
Mr Hibbins: On a point of order, the minister is defying your ruling, Speaker. It is a very specific question about a specific public housing tower being upgraded, and he is defying your ruling and straying from the relevance of the question.
The SPEAKER: The minister is to come back to the question.
Mr PEARSON: Well, I am not going to cop crocodile tears from a class traitor from Chapel Street. On this side of the house, we are investing—
The SPEAKER: Order! I ask the house to come to order when I am on my feet. I will not tolerate this kind of disruption in the house.
Mr Hibbins: On a point of order, Speaker, I ask the minister to withdraw that offensive statement.
The SPEAKER: Order! Minister, withdraw.
Mr PEARSON: I withdraw.
The SPEAKER: Has the minister concluded his answer?
Mr PEARSON: I am so proud to be a member of a government that is getting on with providing energy-efficient, accessible, affordable 21st-century housing to the people who need it most. We will not cop lectures from those who have barely delivered a television to a social housing tenant in this state when we are getting on with the job of providing the biggest housing build in the nation’s history.
Mr HIBBINS: Supplementary question: Minister, residents in the South Yarra towers were promised in 2013 that units in South Yarra would be upgraded and all windows replaced whilst plans were developed. That was nine years ago. Labor has been in government for eight of those years. Minister, instead of excuses, instead of personal attacks and instead of blaming the Greens, why don’t you just fix people’s public housing in South Yarra?
The SPEAKER: The member for Polwarth is warned.
Mr PEARSON: I think the member needs to maybe dust off the abacus and subtract nine from eight and realise that in 2013 we were not in government. We have got on with the job of making the necessary investments, and we have been opposed every step of the way by those opposite. Every single time we have tried we have been opposed. We will not be distracted, we will not be diverted. It is only the Labor government that is making this sort of record investment.
We are proud and we are committed to providing, again, accessible, energy-efficient, affordable housing to the people who need it most. I want to have more public housing and more social housing in my community, and I know for a fact, despite whatever he might say here, he is actively subverting our attempts to do that because he does not want social housing tenants in his community at all.
Mr Hibbins: On a point of order, Speaker, the minister is misleading the house and impugning my character to suggest that I do not want social housing residents in my—
The SPEAKER: Order! Member for Prahran, that is not a point of order.