The Six Billion Dollar Conundrum

The Victorian state government raised 6 billion dollars from stamp duty last year. This tax is paid when people purchase property in Victoria. Billions of dollars in land tax that companies and people owning more than one property pay every year was also collected by the state government. On all available indicators Victoria and Australia is in the midst of a housing affordability crisis. Paradoxically, the Victorian Labor government’s response to this crisis is to destroy what’s left of the public housing sector.

The word public housing has consciously been excluded from discussions about housing. The Victorian Labor government has put all its housing eggs in the community, social, affordable housing and private public partnership basket. They are consciously and wilfully using every means available to a state government to muddy the waters about what they are doing. Social, community and affordable housing are not synonymous with public housing. Public housing is owned and managed by the state – it attempts to provide safe secure affordable housing to people who could never afford to buy in the private market place and have difficulty renting privately owned housing. The social, community and affordable housing sector is privately owned by organisations (some for profit, some not for profit) who pick and choose who uses their properties. They only provide accommodation to those people who meet their criteria for accommodation. The private public partnerships the Victorian state government has entered into with the private sector have resulted in a 70% for private housing 30% for the public housing ratio. It’s state government policy to transfer the management and ownership of these publicly owned properties to the social, community, affordable housing sector.

A strong vibrant public housing sector benefits almost every Victorian. The more public housing that is built, the greater the downward pressure on housing prices and rents. A strong public housing sector results in a greater number of people accommodated in affordable and secure housing who cannot afford to buy or rent in the private market place. The money that is raised by stamp duty (6 billion dollars last year) should be earmarked to build and manage public housing. The Victorian state government could add over 25,000 new houses/units to the public housing list every year if it used stamp duty receipts to build and manage public housing.

Why should money raised by stamp duty be used for consolidated revenue when it can be used to overcome the housing affordability crisis so many Australians find themselves in today? It’s a tragedy the Victorian state Labor government and the Victorian branch of the ALP continue to promote housing policies that have been discredited years ago. It’s time delegates to the ALP Conference stopped acting as apologists for that small section of society that owns the means of production, distribution, exchange and communication whose domination of the economy gives them the power to influence legislative outcomes and start acting in the interests of those people they represent in parliament.

Defend And Extend Public Housing will be holding monthly rallies until the next State election in 2018 on the steps of the Victorian Parliament until Parliamentary representatives in the Victorian Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council consider policies that will ensure:

1. No more public titles will be transferred or sold to privately owned organisations.

2. Current and future governments will not enter into any more private public housing partnerships.

3. The management of public housing will not be transferred to privately owned organisations.

4. Public housing stocks are substantially increased.

Access to public housing is the glue that is the key to social cohesions.

2017 RALLY DATES

All rallies will be held on a Wednesday from midday to 2:00pm on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament House, Spring St Melbourne (hail, rain or shine)

• Wednesday 7th June - Parliament sitting day
• Wednesday 5th July
• Wednesday 9th August - Parliament sitting day
• Wednesday 6th September - Parliament sitting day
• Wednesday 18th October - Parliament sitting day
• Wednesday 1st November - Parliament sitting day
• Wednesday 13th December - Parliament sitting day

Dr. Joseph Toscano / Joint Convener Defend And Extend Public Housing

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