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Saturday, 28 November 2015


Here is an account by a Friends of Public Housing member in the Western suburbs while collecting signatures for the campaign. This information was written up in an incident report at the time with the local Neighbourhood House in the area.

It happened while the Liberals were in power in Victoria, and it illustrates another example of the ongoing disempowerment of public tenants - especially regarding the politically sensitive issue of transferring public housing stock - our homes - to non government housing businesses.

Deliberate disempowerment, of one form or another, is ongoing.

Another public tenant and member of FOPHV was very concerned about the proposed take-over of public housing by 'community housing' organisations and the changes that would take place as a result of it.

Only a few weeks ago, she asked her local housing officer, 'What's all this about community and social housing?'  She was told that there is no point in discussing it until it happens. Of course by then it is too late.

It is unknown what organisation or government department the people in the car belonged to.

Gathering petitions, going door to door in Adamson Street Braybrook I saw a brand new car going into a set of units. There were three people in the car. As I got closer to the units, I saw them coming away from the units. One of them approached me. She asked me what I was doing and I told her that I was collecting petitions against the privatisation of public housing. She wanted to look at the petition so I showed her. She then wrote down the BMSPTA ( Braybrook Maidstone Sunshine Public Tenants Association ) contact number and told me that the Friends for Public Housing document and the petition were illegal because it didn’t have a signature on it. I asked her who she was. She didn’t respond. She asked me what I was getting out of it. I told her that it was volunteer work. She then got in the car and left. I went to the units. When I knocked on the door the people wouldn’t sign the petition as they had been told not to sign by the people in that car. I don’t know where they were from. Next time, if I see them I will get the rego number.

Saturday, 14 November 2015


Written by Alma Ryrie-Jones
for Friends of Public Housing Victoria
in her document 'HOMES UNDER THREAT'

Public housing estates in the inner urban areas of Melbourne were built following slum clearance in areas long considered fit only for the poor.

But times have changed, and the suburbs around them have changed.

These developments are now located in areas of excellent public transport, vibrant cultural and culinary diversity and convenient closeness to workplaces in the city, entertainment, health services and hospitals.

These areas are now highly desirable and sought after by developers, except for the inconvenient truth that many thousands of people already live there as public tenants and would like to stay there.

It seems that governments and developers would like to find ways of dislodging public tenants, by transferring the ownership and management of their tenancies to others, by removing their rights as government tenants, or by outright threats or evictions.

This is property clearance.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


I get very upset when public tenants are endlessly bashed in the media, put down, stigmatised and vilified.
Some of the nicest people I have met in my life have been public tenants.
Public tenants are overwhelmingly friendly, down to earth, cheerful, generous and hospitable people.
In times of crisis or illness in a neighbour's life, public tenants are very compassionate, helpful and supportive -  with an understanding based on their own life experiences.
Our multicultural communities have a lot to offer and teach society because they are based on sound community values.

If public housing titles are given away - how long do you think it will be before public tenants are economically squeezed out of their inner city homes situated on prime real estate ??   Pushed out to make way for gentrification.
Friends of Public Housing Victoria have gathered the thoughts and opinions of public tenants while visiting public housing estates around Melbourne.

'Public housing is one reason why Australia was called the lucky country'
'People end up living in public housing for a variety of reasons. If we tell you our stories, you'll soon find out why we live in public housing'
'I live in a great community. I look after my sick neighbour. Every Saturday we do his shopping for him'

'In a word what they are doing by privatising public housing is RUTHLESS'

'I don't have a computer or even a mobile phone so I appreciate it when I get a visit from Friends of Public Housing and someone asks me for my opinion'

'Public tenants need a voice that says 'Lay off. Stop picking on us'

'Public housing provides security from being homeless. It gives an oasis to people in despair. Many people are living in hardship due to mental illness. Public housing is a form of social security'
'Leave the drug addicts alone. They stay on their side of the fence. We stay on ours. We say hello when we see them on the estate. They're not bad people. They still need a roof over their head'

'No-one should be homeless. No-one.'

'I shop at Kmart and op-shops. They are for people on low incomes. Myers and David Jones- you'd have to be a millionaire to shop there'

'Politicians are money-grabbing so-and-sos. These places were designed for people on low incomes'

'I live in public housing with the missus and kids. They don't know what it's like to be poor. They've never had to live like us. Do they know what it's like to worry about how you spend your last $20 or whether there's enough money for food for the fortnight? The rise in energy bills is killing us.'

'A judge from VCAT said to me once 'You've paid your rent for 54 years. This is your home. You've paid it off by now. Don't let anybody put you out of your own home'
'We are very happy living in public housing. I am from Iran and my partner is from Iraq. He is a boat person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We came here to be safe. We always pray for Australia to stay a peaceful country. We budget carefully. If they put up our rent we couldn't afford it. Being a part of this community is very important for my partner. There is always someone he can talk to when he has depression. We love living in Carlton.'
' Just because we live in low class housing, we are still human beings.'
'I used to own my own house. But things went wrong and now I'm living in public housing. It can happen to anyone'
'Destruction of public housing will unleash more social problems than society is able to deal with'

'Public tenants, we stick together. We fight for everyone - all different nationalities and colours and religions.'
'We see drug addicts and alcoholics and over time they settle down and come good. That's the importance of a community'

'There are not enough support systems in place to deal with the problems privatising public housing will create'
'I am very happy living in public housing. I have no complaints'

'Public tenants fight for the right things - not the wrong things. We fight for the refugees who come here and are our neighbours.'

'I feel very sorry for the children who have come from a war-torn country and now they are happy living here in public housing and the Government is going to take that all away'
'If we get privatised we'll all be worse off '