Housing (14.10.2014)

Written on the 14 October 2014

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- My question is to the Minister for Housing, Ms Lovell.

Could the minister tell the house what the Napthine coalition government has been doing to clean up Labor's mess in the housing portfolio?

The PRESIDENT -- Order! I am happy to invite the minister to respond, but I would put out a warning about debating the matter in terms of her response.


Hon. W. A. LOVELL (Minister for Housing) -- I thank the member for her question and for her ongoing interest in the public housing portfolio. We are all aware of the mess that Labor left this state in. The Napthine coalition government has been cleaning up Labor's mess for four years now.

The public housing portfolio in particular was left in a mess -- a mess that I am still cleaning up.

When we came to government the Auditor-General conducted an investigation into the state of Victoria's public housing system. The Auditor-General concluded that the whole system had been mismanaged by the former government and that its operating model and asset management approach placed the long-term provision of this vital public service at risk. The Auditor-General's report -- an independent report and a report card on Richard Wynne, the member for Richmond in the Assembly, as Minister for Housing -- concludes that despite being aware of the deteriorating situation in public housing, the former government did nothing and did not develop or act upon any long-term strategies.

Therefore it will not surprise the house to learn that when in government Labor bought a dud block of land in Highett Street, Richmond. It was vacant land, and it was contaminated.

That land was left sitting vacant for nine years under Labor.

Three Labor ministers chose to leave this block of land in inner city Melbourne vacant and contaminated rather than cleaning it up and using it. They were Bronwyn Pike, Candy Broad and Richard Wynne.

Today I am announcing that once again I am cleaning up Labor's mess. I am opening tenders for soil remediation work to be done so that the land in Highett Street can be used. Cleaning up this mess means that we can continue to get on with delivering our social housing framework, which I released earlier this year. Labor should be held accountable for its mismanagement of public housing, which left this vital service at risk. It was an absolute disgrace. Mr Lenders was warned by Treasury and the government was warned by the Auditor-General and a housing review board, but despite those warnings, Labor did nothing.

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