Renaissance of reason
The We Live Here Forum on housing affordability and short-term rentals showed that there are solutions to the crisis, and that people with different perspectives can work together to achieve results.
Solicitor Tom Bacon from Strata Title Lawyers moderated a lively community discussion with MPs Ellen Sandell (Melbourne), and Gabrielle De Vietri (Richmond), and Deputy Mayor of the City of Yarra Edward Crossland, and resident activists from St Kilda and the Yarra Valley. Backed by publicly available data, the nexus between short-stays and the housing crisis was proven.
MLCs Sheena Watt and Evan Mullholland were unable to attend, as were all Melbourne City Councillors. We Live Here has accepted an invitation to meet with Evan Mulholland, and we will resume our regular meetings with the Consumer Affairs office, now part of the Government Services cluster.
The panellists put forward constructive action plans, and with the current complexion of the state parliament upper house, we feel the future is positive.
Our Yarra Valley resident activist also showed how statistical information can be used to support genuine solutions to the housing crisis.
Our resident activist from St Kilda reported on milestone achievements this year: the Municipal Association of Victoria adopted a policy of regulating short stays, and the association will advocate the government for uniform change across the state. At least four councils have already introduced self-funding registration schemes.
The resident’s analysis also showed that of 50 “short-stay” cases brought before VCAT by aggrieved residents, none had orders issued against the short-stay operator.
Tom Bacon offered explanations: either the short-stay legislation was incompetently drafted, or it was designed to fail.
Let’s fix this, and fast. Registration of short-term rentals can deliver immediate results. If your MP is unaware of the issue, please write to them. Write to your city councillors too.
Cladding chaos continues – for some
Some apartment owners are still in limbo, with flammable cladding deemed not dangerous enough for state government support, and too dangerous for the council, banks and insurers.
Owners in some major buildings are facing financial devastation, unable to sell their apartments because of an outstanding building order to remove flammable cladding and rejection by lenders.
Flammable cladding was installed in thousands of buildings, with governments around the world blithely allowing the practice under the principle of “self-regulation”.
The Victorian Government is as guilty as others. This disaster was allowed to occur, and our government assumed limited responsibility. The emergency fund set up under Cladding Safety Victoria (CSV) includes $600 million.
The CSV money pot must be emptying fast and we still have buildings suffering in cladding purgatory.
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