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Adjournment: Carlton public housing estate

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
30 August 2022

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Housing and relates to safety issues at the Carlton public housing estate in my electorate. Over the past few years reports of unsociable, aggressive and intimidating behaviour on the estate have increased, and although residents have been attempting to share their concerns with the department they feel they are not being heard. Frequent complaints include yelling and other loud disturbances, violence, vandalism and damage to residents’ property and squatting in empty apartments, and drug use and overdoses in common areas such as hallways and laundries are also common. Some residents are aware of illegal activity in their building but are too afraid to report this to police out of fear there might be backlash or simply because they no longer believe that the police will do anything about it. Many residents say they do not feel safe in their homes, and countless residents have reported a serious deterioration in their mental health due to ongoing safety issues.

While demographics on the estate have shifted dramatically over recent years, there has been no investment from the government to address the impacts of these changes. Community support workers are concerned about the number of visitors to the estate who present with complex needs, including alcohol and other drug dependencies and acute and chronic mental health issues. Residents tell me that doors are often jammed open or broken to facilitate entry by non-residents, and in some buildings forced entry has become so common that people are afraid to leave their apartments. For older residents living at 530 Lygon Street, attempting to enter or exit the building has become a terrifying experience, as they are often confronted by people aggressively trying to force their way into the building.

The Carlton Estate Tenants Association has formed a volunteer safety group, which is working hard to improve outcomes for residents, but in spite of strong community advocacy nothing has been done to address these serious safety concerns. This compounds ongoing concerns about a lack of maintenance and the support that is needed for residents. Residents need meaningful action to address the ongoing safety issues around their homes and are calling on the government to implement the same security system that has been successful at neighbouring estates such as Fitzroy, Richmond and Collingwood. This model requires anyone entering the building to sign in and provide contact details alongside information about who they are visiting and acts as a deterrent for unsociable behaviour at the point of entry. The action I seek is for the government to urgently invest funding to implement a secure check-in model at the Carlton public housing estate.

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
30 August 2022
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