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Friday, 5 September 2014



Friends of Public Housing Victoria -FOPHV- would like to thank City of Yarra for supporting and defending both Public Housing and public tenants - by granting FOPHV  an amount of $ 5,000. We are indeed fortunate to have such a progressive Council with a strong commitment to Public Housing and public tenants. Public Housing in Australia is under threat of privatisation nation-wide. In Victoria there is a proposed plan to transfer 12,000 public housing properties to so-call 'community housing' companies, aka 'social housing'.  Community Housing does not protect the rights of public tenants.

Special mention and many thanks go to
Cr Roberto Colanzi - ALP - who liaised with us and helped us to secure this grant
Cr Amanda Stone - The Greens - who was instrumental in helping us obtain a unanimous resolution by Council to stop all further transfers of public housing to 'community housing'.

Our thanks go to all Yarra councillors from all political parties who voted against any further loss of our irreplaceable and desperately needed public housing. Below is a version of our submission which has been slightly shortened and altered to improve readability.

Dear Councillors, City of Yarra,

On behalf of public tenants, Friends of Public Housing Victoria - FOPHV - would like to put in a community submission, pertaining to the 2014-15 council budget.
As you know, around 13% of all Yarra’s dwellings is Public Housing, and public tenants make up a sizable proportion of your constituency.
The proposed transfer by the Liberal State Government of 12,000 public housing properties ( public tenants’ homes ) to ‘community housing' will result in higher rents on average than in Public Housing, no protections against periodic rent rises, and sometimes the introduction of fixed term contracts.
Traditional Public Housing rights and protections, such as flexible rents based on a percentage of income, and security of tenure are desperately needed by people on low incomes and those experiencing disadvantage. This is especially true following the release of an exceedingly harsh and unfair Federal budget which will disproportionally impact on our diverse and multicultural public tenant community. The growth of community housing should not be at the expense of Public Housing.
Without these protections, it is only a matter of time and many public tenants will be squeezed out of the inner-city by rising rents, food insecurity and even harsh eviction policies.
Taken from City of Yarra publication
A large proportion of Yarra’s population are public housing tenants. There are just under 5,000 public housing dwellings in Yarra comprising 13% of Yarra’s dwellings, and 7% of all Victoria’s public housing stock. Significantly, 33% of Victoria’s high-rise public housing is in Yarra. Yarra is Victoria's most socially and economically diverse community – a large very-disadvantaged population lives alongside significant affluence. Yarra has more high and more low-income households than the Melbourne average. Yarra is the only municipality that has a high proportion of its population living in very disadvantaged neighbourhoods – 9% of residents live in a collector district with a disadvantage index value below 700 (a value of 1,000 is the average for Australia).
Yarra Council has proven itself to be a forward thinking and progressive council, committed to social inclusion and justice as demonstrated by its unanimous resolution in June 2012 which opposed further transfers of desperately needed Public Housing to Housing Associations and Community Housing Providers.
Publicity for our campaign to save Public Housing is sorely needed, and we request that City of Yarra consider banners on libraries and municipal buildings which say ‘Save Public Housing’, ‘Yarra Supports More Public Housing’ or ‘Stop the Privatisation of Public Housing.’
We also have in mind a celebration of Public Housing. We would like to stage a multicultural singing and dancing event. Refugee public tenants who are also members of FOPHV,and have experience working for the Arts Council, have offered to put on a show for free to support this cause. Some well known comedians and artists have also expressed interest in being a part of this.
Support for our cause is growing all the time. Some prominent people strongly support FOPHV’s position, as well as local authorities including Moreland Council and Trades Hall Council who have also made resolutions opposing any further transfers of public housing stock.
Thankyou for your consideration,
Fiona Ross, Eileen Artmann, Jeremy Dixon
Friends of Public Housing Victoria

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