The ALP wants to add 80,000 social and affordable housing to Australian streets pronto. Many developers who lodged plans with council are now re-lodging applications, with a “percentage” of social housing – to be operated by a housing co-operative – in an attempt to speed through an approval, and help the ALP governments with their aims.
In Queensland recently, ALP housing minister Karen Struthers called for “tolerance” in welcoming an increasing surge of public housing residents to its neighbourhoods.
In Victoria, Planning Minister Justin Madden “called in” (approved without community consultation) several social housing projects, which did not need to be publicly advertised, because of a temporary change in the law last year, and soon after the initiative was announced.
Kelvin Thompson, the federal minister for Wills and Jane Garrett, the ALP candidate for Brunswick, in Melbourne, have both acknowledged in The Age today, the government’s failure to consult the community over public housing redevelopment.
However despite the acknowledgement, little seems to be done to change it.
When quizzed about the fast-tracking of projects in the scheme, Federal Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek handpassed a response, telling The Age “such issues were a matter for the state”.
In Queensland, the government has recently said it would not let protesters get in the way of social housing construction.
Mr Madden, again speaking via a spokeswoman, told The Age rather conclusively: “Meeting these time frames ensures Victoria receives its share of nation building funding and boosts its social housing stock across the State.”
Major social housing projects in Coburg and Geelong, in Victoria recently started construction before residents were consulted.
Mr Madden, a former AFL footballer, is facing his second vote of no confidence in a year, over an email sent to him by a media adviser outlining a sham consultation process for the Windsor Hotel redevelopment, in which it would be claimed the politician listened to the public, in rejecting an application.
In Melbourne, a major 128-hectare proposal for Department of Defence land on the banks of the Maribyrnong River, in Cordite Avenue, Maribyrnong, near Highpoint, will include “at least” 20 per cent social and affordable housing.
VicUrban will assume control of the prominent Maribyrnong site in 2012 and proceed with the development, which was not seen by the community, prior to VicUrban announcing plans for the site.