Australian Greens

Victorian Labor’s lack of transparency hit absurd new levels today as the government blocked 146 out of 158 total documents related to its plan to demolish all 44 public housing towers across Victoria from being released claiming executive privilege.

Last year the Parliament passed a Greens motion that demanded Labor come clean on its plan to demolish 44 public housing towers and privatise the majority of the land.

The Greens say that Labor has failed to produce a shred of evidence that justifies its shock announcement that could result in the end of public housing in Victoria and its refusal to release these documents seems only to confirm suspicions that they don’t have advice that justifies the wholesale destruction of these public housing communities.

The Greens added that matters like the displacement of public housing residents and public assets being sold to wealthy developers are unequivocally in the public interest. In addition, the sheer volume of documents being withheld on this matter lays bare the broken state of Victoria’s executive privilege process that allows Labor to break the rules applying to independent arbiters

As stated by the Greens Spokesperson for Public and Affordable Housing, Samantha Ratnam:

“Based on the little that has been released, it appears Labor has decided to demolish and privatise Victoria’s 44 public housing towers based on some dot points on the back of an envelope.

“Labor’s decision to redevelop 259 Malvern Road appears to be based on a quick and dirty compliance report that was done after one site visit where the assessors did not enter a single home. It’s deeply concerning if this is the level of analysis sitting behind Labor’s public housing demolition policy.”

“If Labor had any justification or evidence to explain its decision to destroy and privatise public housing in Victoria, they would have released these documents.

“Their failure to allow the public to see these documents can only lead us to the conclusion that their claims about the condition of the public housing towers are not to be believed.”

As stated by Leader of the Greens in the Legislative Council, Sarah Mansfield:

“The government is able to mark its own homework on executive privilege and set its own broad definition of what’s in the public interest. This is yet another demonstration of why Labor’s system of secrecy desperately needs an overhaul.”

“The fact that the Victorian Labor Government is able to conceal tens of thousands of pages of information in relation to a project that is of such deep importance to the community is treating Victorians with contempt.”

/Public Release. View in full here.