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Chapter 1 provides an overview of the Public Housing Renewal Program, a Victorian Government program to redevelop and build public housing homes across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. The Chapter looks at the nine sites that form Phase 1 of the Program and introduces key issues that the Committee received evidence on: public housing supply; the planning process; the impact on tenants; and the Program’s financial and social model. The Chapter concludes with an examination of previous renewal projects in Kensington and Carlton followed by a discussion of social housing policy in Victoria and the social and economic value of renewal programs.

Chapter 2 explores Victoria’s public housing framework and governance. In particular, the Chapter looks at how public housing is structured in relation to the evolving demand for housing stock. The Chapter examines the level of investment in social housing over recent years and considers the issues raised in previous audits of public housing in Victoria. The Chapter also discusses the Victorian Housing Register, including current tenant demographics, and the Public Housing Renewal Program’s proposed 10 per cent increase in public housing.

Chapter 3 covers planning issues linked to the Public Housing Renewal Program. The Chapter looks at the role played by the Social Housing Renewal Standing Advisory Committee in considering proposed planning scheme amendments, including its public consultation program and the reports and recommendations it prepared for the Minister for Planning. The Chapter discusses each of the core planning elements, including: proposed rezoning of the sites; Development Plan Overlays; the change in the Responsible Authority for each planning scheme; and design concerns.

Chapter 4 examines the impact that the Public Housing Renewal Program has had on tenants. The Chapter identifies some weaknesses in the Department of Health and Human Services’ consultation and engagement process, as well as examining evidence on the uncertainty created by the relocation process. The Chapter concludes with a summary of tenants’ right to return to redeveloped estates, including: tenant eligibility; the supply of appropriate public housing options; and the Victorian Public Tenants Association pledge signed by the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing.

Chapter 5 looks at the financial and social model of the Public Housing Renewal Program. The Chapter discusses the tender process and explores the Victorian Government’s decision to fund new housing by selling land to developers rather than refurbishing the sites. The Chapter concludes with an examination of the improved social outcomes that the Victorian Government expects the Program to achieve through a ‘social mix’ of public and private housing at each site.

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