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Why should the state wriggle out of providing public housing?

20 Jun 2017

The Victorian government’s 2017 housing policy contains a bulk transfer of public housing to housing associations. Housing Minister Martin Foley’s explanation is that “the state is a terrible housing manager”.

A similar rationale underlies the handing of public housing estates to private developers to build private housing, the sales of which fund some new public dwellings with the added justification of increasing social mix.

Our soon-to-be-published research examines the rollout of this program. In inner Melbourne, following redevelopment of the Kensington, Carlton and Prahran estates, nine more estates have been targeted. The tenants of buildings to be demolished will be relocated from mid-2018, according to a government briefing paper.

The federal Greens MP for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, has criticised the program as selling public land to private developers “for a bagful of cash and a smattering of new social housing”. He adds that Melbourne needs “a large-scale build of new public housing on a 1960s scale”.

Foley’s defence of the rollout, in an odd non sequitur, is that Labor:

… can’t condemn another generation of Victorians to live in housing poverty.

Read the full article on The Conversation.

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