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Council advocacy secures future for Yarra residents
22 March 2013
The State Government has backed Council’s calls to defer master planning for public housing estates in Fitzroy and Richmond.
Yarra Mayor, Cr Jackie Fristacky said the news would provide some relief for housing estate residents who were unsure about how the plans would affect them.
“Council has repeatedly voiced its concerns to the State Government about its lack of transparency and consultation around key parameters for the master planning proposal,” Cr Fristacky said.
“I reject the assertion made by the Minister that Yarra has not supported ‘exploring opportunities’ to improve the housing estates.
“Regarding master-planning, Council has sought to engage constructively with the State Government and formally requested the Minister to establish a joint advisory committee or working group to provide input on this matter,” she said.
Cr Fristacky said Council’s representations to the Minister had outlined its strong support for ongoing refurbishment of the dwellings and improved facilities on both estates.
“The State Government has been very clear that its plans for these public housing estates would involve introducing private housing to pay for the redevelopments,” she said.
“The community has been repeatedly told by the State Government there would be no ‘net loss’ of public housing, but that statement does not answer questions the community has been asking.
“Residents wanted to know that the green spaces on the estates that act as their backyards and provide a place for their children to play, would not be sacrificed for the gains of private developers. This information is important to residents on the estates and their surrounding communities.”
Yarra Council has long-held its position of no net loss of green open space surrounding the high rise buildings.
Cr Fristacky said despite pledging transparency and broad consultation, the State Government has not provided answers to these concerns in almost 18 months.
“The State Government has an obligation to improve facilities and infrastructure on Victoria’s housing estates,” she said.
“That obligation should be motivated by a desire to improve the communities who live on the estate and the surrounding neighbourhood, not by external drivers that could fragment and displace those communities. The Richmond and Fitzroy estates are home to vibrant and cohesive communities that enrich the diversity of Yarra.
“Council has acted in good faith during the planning process, but from the outset, we have also made it clear that we believe housing estate land should not be compromised.”
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