Questions without Notice: Public Housing redevelopments
Dr RATNAM (Northern Metropolitan) : My question is for the minister representing the Minister for Housing. There have been some major problems with the government’s failed public housing renewal program that began in 2018, which is still continuing, albeit under a different name.
Many residents were aggressively relocated from their communities years ago, despite many of these estates remaining vacant ever since, while 120 000 people languish on the waiting list for urgent public housing. The redevelopment of the Abbotsford Street public housing in North Melbourne is one such example. The minister has previously given assurances that all residents will be able to return to their estate once the redevelopment is finished. However, I am hearing from former residents who have had no communication from Homes Victoria and are anxious about whether the promised relocation will actually happen, despite it being due to be completed in early 2023. Minister, will you ensure all previous residents are contacted as a matter of urgency about their return to the estate?
Ms STITT(Western Metropolitan): I thank Dr Ratnam for that important question, and I will seek a written response from the Minister for Housing in accordance with the standing orders.
Dr RATNAM: Thank you, Minister, for forwarding that on. By way of supplementary, Abbotsford Street is one of a number of inner-city public housing estates that have been earmarked for redevelopment. The redevelopment model is based on evicting residents from their homes, tearing apart close-knit supportive communities and replacing the public homes
with a mix of social and market housing. Like at Abbotsford Street, other public housing communities like Barak Beacon in Port Melbourne are being pressured to leave their homes with no time line or guarantee of return, let alone a plan for how the estate is going to be redeveloped. Minister, why are these public housing estates like Abbotsford Street and Barak Beacon estate, amongst others, being cleared of people if the government has no clear plans for how the estates will be rebuilt for public housing tenants nor a plan for tenants to return to their communities?
Ms STITT: I will also refer Dr Ratnam’s supplementary question to the Minister for Housing, who I am sure will be able to advise her about the program underway.