The Victorian Greens have called on the new Housing Minister to urgently implement the recommendations made in the Victoria Ombudsman’s report on the public and community housing complaints system.
The damning report was released by the ombudsman today and underscores the state government’s complete failure to support council housing residents.
The Greens say this will be the first test of how seriously the government plans to take the public housing crisis as we head towards national elections.
The ombudsman’s main recommendation is the proposal to establish a new social housing ombudsman who would hear complaints from residents of public and community housing.
It’s something the Greens have already called for after hearing from countless residents who have been unlucky to get help from the government or Homes Victoria. The Greens have introduced a bill to create a public housing ombudsman in 2020.
The Ombudsman’s proposal to include housing in the Charter of Human Rights is also welcome and significant. It echoes calls made by the Greens earlier this year when they tabled a bill in Parliament to end homelessness and add housing as a right to the Charter.
Victoria Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said successive state governments had actively backed away from building and maintaining social housing for years and this report had laid that bare.
She added that the ombudsman’s investigation should be a turning point and hopefully allow residents to be treated with respect by the government.
As Victoria Greens leader Samantha Ratnam MLC said:
“This report will be a crucial test for our new Housing Minister.
“Will he continue to move away from social housing as the Victoria Labor government has done for years, or will he support the recommendations made by the ombudsman today?
“For too long, residents of social housing have been treated like second-class citizens and have been shunned and ignored by governments. We urge the new Minister to urgently implement the recommendations made by the Ombudsman today.
“This report highlights that the government must update legislation that grants residents of public and community housing their right to live in adequate housing.
“The Government cannot continue to privatize public housing and ignore its dire consequences, as it is clear that this approach has failed Victorians for years.”