Question without Notice: Barak Beacon estate
Dr RATNAM: My question is for the minister representing the Minister for Housing. Minister, just weeks before Christmas the residents at Barak Beacon estate in Port Melbourne were doorknocked by department officers informing them that they would need to move from their homes urgently. Residents have felt pressured into moving without full information
about what will happen to their homes, and they are deeply distressed at having to leave without knowing whether they will be able to return to the estate. We know what is about to happen on this estate because it is part of the privatisation of public housing this government is pursuing. This is prime real estate close to Port Melbourne’s beaches, and it is clear that the so-called ground lease model will siphon off part of this public land for private development. In a housing affordability crisis, with over 120 000 people on the waiting list, this is unconscionable. Residents report that their homes are in good functioning condition and they have not been provided with any rationale for why they will be destroyed. Minister, are these people’s homes being demolished instead of being renovated so private investors can have waterfront views?
Ms SHING: Thank you, Dr Ratnam, for that question. There is an awful lot in that, but I will pass it to the Minister for Housing in the other place and, pursuant to the standing orders, seek a response.
Dr RATNAM: Thank you, Minister, for passing that on. Minister, we know the existing public homes will be replaced with a mix of new community, affordable and market rental homes, meaning that public homes are being replaced with privately owned and privately managed housing. There will be no public housing maintained on the site and a small uplift of only
10 per cent in community housing. We also understand that private affordable rentals are expected to be part of the government’s affordable housing rental scheme. However, serious questions remain about how the model can be described as affordable and provide secure housing for people currently living in the public housing on the site. We have heard the government is defining ‘affordable rentals’ at this site as 90 per cent market rate with rental periods of three years. Is this correct?
Ms SHING: Thank you, Dr Ratnam. Again, as with the substantive question, I will seek a response from the minister in the other place.