We welcome the formation of a new public housing group, Darebin Community Friends of Public Housing, which has been established to fight the sell-off of the Walker Street public housing estate in Northcote and to amplify the voices of public housing residents. The Victorian Socialists wholeheartedly endorses their statement:
"We support the retention and building of more public housing in our community. Darebin public housing has shrunk from 4000 dwellings a decade ago to only 2800 now. The state government's privatisation program at the Walker St estate and 8 other locations in Melbourne has been correctly described as a travesty that is not good public policy, lacks transparency and should be abandoned (Editorial, The Age, 9 June).
Privatisation of Walker St will lead to an inappropriate development of 270+ new dwellings in a location previously designated low density residential by Darebin Council.
There will be only 96 new public or community housing dwellings built with reduced bedroom numbers compared to what is there now. The state government's plan to relocate residents has stalled as there are no appropriate local options for residents to temporarily relocate and return. This is causing enormous stress to residents and we stand in solidarity with them.
Current planning for relocations should cease. A new plan to refurbish existing dwellings and build additional new dwellings through a staged redevelopment should be put in place."