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Friday, 12 June 2015


Friends of Public Housing Victoria is made up of public tenants, supporters and academics who oppose the privatisation of public housing. We oppose the largely secretive practice of transferring public housing properties to community / social housing businesses.

Ms Alma Ryrie-Jones – editor and policy writer has researched and written a 15 page document entitled 'Homes Under Threat'. Alma spoke eloquently at our Film Night in conjunction with Architects For Peace. She suggested a letter writing campaign and is happy to organise this. If you want to get in contact with Alma please drop a line to my email address and I will forward your details on.

Here are some excerpts from the document Homes Under Threat.
Public housing homes – homes that provide genuine affordability and security for people in need.
53,000 tenants in Victoria call public housing home.

' Everyone agrees that the shortage of affordable housing is a serious problem, and that there must be an expansion of the stock of available affordable housing to deal with it. There is less agreement about what action should be taken. Instead of reinvesting in upgraded public housing and expanding the stock of public housing, state and territory governments have turned to models of funding and development that involve divesting themselves of the existing assets, responsibilities and structures. This means turning public assets over to private landlords, and with it the power over tenancies. It means giving up any responsibility for the well-being of tenants.' P4.

'Nor does anyone have a vision for a permanent balance that would include retaining public assets. If anything, there is the suggestion that all public housing will eventually disappear into the hands of housing associations and community housing providers – alliances between property developers and not for profit organisations, or not for profit organisations turned developers.'  P6

Spin, secrecy and stock transfers.
'It is difficult to understand why there has been such a limited public debate about these issues and how such major action could be taken on so limited an evidence base.'

Positive labels like ‘social’ and ‘community’ make it difficult for many people to see anything to worry about in these developments, and public tenants themselves are often the last to know or understand what is happening. P7

'A good deal of information goes missing from public sites at the slightest suggestion of criticism or open debate. This lack of open discussion and suppression of information is unhealthy. The arguments for governments getting out of direct provision of public housing have been widely promoted, but the arguments against, or arguments for alternative government approaches, have not been part of the conversation.' P7

'In fact the arrangements appear to have successfully compromised the independence of the very people who have the best record not only of serving and supporting the poor and disadvantaged but in speaking out when governments get involved with unscrupulous developers and try to evade their responsibilities by handing over service delivery and the assets that go with it. We wonder how people would view these changes if they were called ‘privatising’ or, more accurately, ‘giving away’ public housing to the private sector and if advocates of social justice were leading the charge against it, instead of becoming part of it.' P7
The problem was not created overnight and cannot be solved overnight. Long-term thinking and planning is needed, not a focus on short-term gains. Instead, the ‘plan’ is to pass the responsibility to others and relinquish ownership and control to organisations which are at least partly, and sometimes wholly, driven by profit motives.P9

These properties are an asset that cannot be replaced,ever,once lost'  P12


  1. This blog is an excellent site for those of us concerned about the uncertain future of public housing. The sword of Damocles hanging over the head of public tenants is the possibility of mass transfers of housing stock to the non-government housing associations which will bring far more negatives than positives including higher rents, uncertainty of tenure, and being discriminated against with well heeled tenants better able to afford the rents. Waiting lists would never reduce, not that they do much now. Governments who no longer want to remain landlords abrogate their responsibilities to the most unfortunate members in our society whose only chance of a roof over their heads is via public housing. Good on you Fiona, you are an inspiration ( written by someone who grew up in public houses )

  2. Governments have forgotten, very deliberately so, their social duty of responsibility. Mind you, if war breaks out they will find it again in a hurry and call for all of you younge ones to go fight and maybe die so they can keep their positions and their system going. Promises were made, housing was one of them, so were jobs on returniong home (if you did).Today they see us as a nucience and as something in the way of "balancing the books" by selling taxpayers assetts. We were lied to then, we are lied to now.

    We need more public housing not less. It should be a major criminal offence to sell public housing. Legally it will not be but morally we should make governments know it is by tossing them out every election, by demonstration and marching, picketing their offices and so on.