The Victorian Greens have launched a bold, comprehensive housing statement they say will form the basis of their upcoming negotiations with the Victorian Labor Government over housing and planning reform.
With the Premier due to announce his own reforms any week now, the Greens say their statement will provide a strong benchmark to measure them against.
The statement outlines the Greens’ plan for the future of housing in Victoria and includes an 11-point list of real solutions to the current housing crisis including:
- Inclusionary zoning. To create more genuinely affordable housing supply, a minimum of 50% of housing should be public and affordable within any special development zones and a minimum of 30% of public and affordable housing in developments of 15 or more homes across the state.
- A public builder. To solve the developer-led construction slowdown, Victoria needs a government builder – similar to the Housing Commission. It would be responsible for the direct construction of 100,000 public homes over the next decade, at cost, to stabilise the industry and rapidly boost supply.
- Rent controls. To protect renters from out-of-control rent rises, renters need a two-year rent freeze followed by a permanent cap on rent increases.
Everyone should have a safe, secure and affordable home, yet right now more people are in housing stress than ever before.
More than 120,000 people are on the public housing waiting list, 30,000 people are homeless in Victoria every night, and renters are experiencing record levels of housing stress.
This is happening because successive Victorian and Federal Governments have commodified housing as an investment rather than a human right, giving special treatment to property developers and investors whose bottom-line is profit, and not building enough homes people can afford.
Just like other essential services such as public health and education, governments should have a responsibility to provide affordable housing.
Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said the Victorian Labor Government’s soon-to-be-announced reforms were a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix the worsening housing crisis.
She said once they were announced, the Greens would be ready to come to the table to negotiate in good faith, housing statement in hand.
As the Greens currently hold the shared balance of power in the Upper House, it’s very likely the Government will need the support of the Greens to get any reforms over the line.
The Greens have previously indicated they won’t be in a position to support these reforms unless they are strong enough to tackle the scale of the current housing crisis.
QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO SAMANTHA RATNAM, LEADER OF THE VICTORIAN GREENS.
“To fix the housing crisis we need bold reforms, not more of the same.
“The Victorian Labor Government has already hinted that it’s looking at removing the community’s voice in planning decisions and instead give into the demands of the property industry.
“But that will only result in more expensive investment properties being built, leaving thousands of Victorians languishing in housing stress.
“Right now we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix this crisis, and it’s important the Government doesn’t cave into the property industry again. Labor needs to find the guts to stand up to its property industry donors.
“The Greens are ready to come to the table with our housing statement, and work towards a new housing system in Victoria that puts people first.”
QUOTES ATTRIBUTABLE TO GABRIELLE DE VIETRI, VICTORIAN GREENS SPOKESPERSON FOR RENTERS’ RIGHTS:
“Without urgent rent controls, thousands of Victorian renters will continue to face housing stress and homelessness.
“It’s clear the majority of Australians support rent controls, yet Labor would prefer to throw renters to the wolves if it helps protect their property developer and investor mates.
“We need an immediate rent freeze followed by a cap on rent increases to protect renters being forced to choose between feeding their kids or keeping a roof over their heads.”