News and Views

Welcome, public housing friends!

(I have made this page available so that public tenants from different cultural backgrounds can use the Google Translate on this page (above) to select their own language and have the current issues more clearly explained.)
  • The Victorian Labor government wants to sell off inner city public land.
  • It plans to give property developers access to land currently used for public housing.
  • It has announced a large scale “renewal” program that will likely involve the forced removal of tenants and the demolition of 9 housing estates across Melbourne.
  • AT LEAST 4000 public housing homes will be transferred to the community housing sector. Some public tenants have already been told that they will need to leave their homes before the end of 2017.
  • The Labor Government plans to sign as many contracts with private developers as possible before the state election next year, to lock in the sales.
  • Thousands of new homes will be built on the estates but the vast majority of these will be privately owned.
  • The developers stand to make big profits by cashing in on land that should be used for public housing.
  • There are nearly 35,000 Victorians on the public housing waiting list and there is a housing affordability crisis across most of the state.
  • The need for thousands of new public housing homes is critical.
  • Instead, the government wants to let developers in to build thousands of unaffordable private apartments.
  • Whole communities are being promised that everyone will be coming home, but there will be mainly 1 and 2 bedrooms built – replacing the 3-bedrooms units. Government fact sheets make this quite clear. On Public Housing ‘walk-up’ estates, up to half or more of the homes can be 3 bedroom units, since the ‘walk-ups’ were designed for community living.
  • THERE ARE NO LEGALLY-BINDING CONTRACTS THAT WILL GUARANTEE THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WILL BE ABLE TO RETURN TO YOUR FORMER HOMES AND NEIGHBOURHOODS.
JOIN COMMUNITY RALLIES organised by the Public Housing Defence Network to demand:
  • NO to the sell off of public housing land!
  • NO to destroying existing communities!
  • NO to the privatisation of public housing!
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PUBLIC, SOCIAL + COMMUNITY HOUSING: 
  • You might have heard the terms COMMUNITY/SOCIAL/AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
  • You might think these are the same as PUBLIC HOUSING.
  • THIS CONFUSION IS DELIBERATE.
  • PUBLIC HOUSING IS NOT THE SAME as COMMUNITY/SOCIAL HOUSING!
1. PUBLIC  HOUSING
  • is managed and owned by the government. Generally, your rent is fixed at 25% of your household income and YOUR RENTAL CONTRACT WITH THE GOVERNMENT IS ONGOING.
  • Public Housing protects you with rebated rents – your rent goes up or down, which is a very important protection ie. if you get sick or lose your job your rents get adjusted. Do not think that this protection is for Community/Social Housing tenants.
  • Public tenants cannot be asked to leave for no reason, (whereas Community/Social Housing tenants can be evicted for business reasons – ie. if you have a ‘spare bedroom’ your home could be considered ‘under-utilised’ – or the landlord might simply want to sell the properties.

2. COMMUNITY/SOCIAL HOUSING 

  • is either owned or managed – or both – by businesses which have different rules and fewer protections than those in Public Housing. This will affect you and your family.
  • The rent in community housing is often charged at 75% of market rents and you will need to apply for Commonwealth Rent Assistance, for it to be affordable for those on low incomes. The Commonwealth Rent Assistance will go straight to the provider. You might start your rent at 30% of your income but can often be raised depending on the Community Housing landlord’s circumstances.
  • As a Community Housing tenant you can be put on contracts as as short as 3, 6 or 12 months.
  • Different rules and hidden costs can occur in Community/Social Housing regarding maintenance, utilities, and you might find there is little to no car parking as a Community Housing tenant.
  • So if you become a Community/Social housing tenant, you and your family will not only, on average, be paying more rent, you will lose important rights and protections.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • As soon as possible, contact your local Community Legal Centre. (See below)
  • These CLCs are working with and advising public tenants on their legal rights.
  • Go to meetings of your local Residents’ Action Groups.
  • Talk to tenants from other housing estates and become empowered.

Remember: YOU HAVE RIGHTS under the Residency Tenancies Act 1997.
If you get a visit from the Department, remember:
  • YOU DO NOT HAVE TO ENGAGE WITH ANYBODY FROM THE GOVERNMENT WHO KNOCKS ON YOUR DOOR TO DISCUSS RELOCATION PLANS IF YOU DON’T WISH TO! 
  • YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SIGN ANYTHING, SO DON’T SIGN ANYTHING!
  • ASK FOR A COPY OF ANY DOCUMENT THEY WANT YOU TO SIGN, SO THAT YOU CAN DISCUSS IT WITH YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS FIRST!
  • IF THAT REQUEST IS REFUSED, THEN ASK IF YOU CAN TAKE A SCREENSHOT OF THE DOCUMENT.
  • ASK IF YOU CAN RECORD THE MEETING ON YOUR SMARTPHONE.
  • IF THE ABOVE REQUESTS ARE REFUSED, THEN POLITELY END THE MEETING, STATING THAT YOU WISH TO DISCUSS THE ISSUE WITH YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE FIRST.
  • (STICKERS ARE AVAILABLE FROM VARIOUS TENANTS’ SUPPORT GROUPS FOR YOU TO STICK ON DOORS/WINDOWS. THEY SAY:                                                 “DHHS Relocation Officers – please do not knock or call me on the phone.
    We are following independent legal advice, and won’t sign anything without a second opinion. Please send me by mail any documents you want me to look at.”)
  • REMEMBER: YOU HAVE RIGHTS AS A PUBLIC TENANT – ONE OF WHICH IS NOT TO FEEL INTIMIDATED BY YOUR LANDLORD/GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVE!

COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRES

Brunswick:

NORTHERN COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC
Shop 214 (Rooftop) Gladstone Park Shopping Centre
Gladstone Park 3043

T: (03) 9310 4376

 

North Melbourne:

INNER MELBOURNE COMMUNITY LEGAL INC

Suite 2, 508 Queensberry Street

North Melbourne 3051

T: (03) 9328 1885

 

Heidelberg West:

WEST HEIDELBERG COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE

21 Alamein Road

West Heidelberg, 3081

T: (03) 9450 2002

 

Clifton Hill:

FITZROY LEGAL SERVICE INC

Fitzroy Town Hall Level 4, 126 Moor Street (Access via courtyard)

Fitzroy 3065

T: (03) 9419 3744

 

Brighton:

PENINSULA COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC

441 Nepean Highway

Frankston VIC 3199

T:  (03) 9783 3600

 

Prahran:

ST.KILDA LEGAL SERVICE CO-OP LTD

161 Chapel Street

St.Kilda 3182

T: (03) 9534 0777

 

Hawthorn:

EASTERN COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC

Inner East Branch

Suite 3, Town Hall Hub, 27 Bank Street

Box Hill 3128

T: (03) 9285 4822

 

Northcote & Preston:

DAREBIN COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE INC

732 High Street

Thornbury 3071

T: (03) 9484 7753

 

Ascot Vale

MOONEE VALLEY LEGAL SERVICE

13A Wingate Avenue

Ascot Vale 3032

T: (03) 9376 7929

 

Flemington

FLEMINGTON KENSINGTON COMMUNITY LEGAL CENTRE 

22 Bellair Street

Kensington 3031

T: (03) 9376 4355


Lisa Fischer in Melbourne

Image result for lisa fischerRecently, I was introduced to the magnificent voice of Lisa Fischer via the 2013 documentary, ‘Twenty Feet from Stardom.’ The film followed the lives of several backup singers as they worked with some of the world’s biggest stars, such as the Rolling Stones, Sting, Tina Turner, Beyonce and Chaka Khan.

Included, was unforgettable live footage of Fischer’s legendary duets with Mick Jagger on “Gimme Shelter,’ showcasing her virtuosity and vulnerability, and opening a window on her sometimes lonely life on the road.

With her band, Grand Baton, an organic fusion of African, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean rhythms, Lisa recently performed in Melbourne’s Recital Centre. Her soaring vocal agility, fascinating interplay of ‘duelling’ microphones to great effect and her warmth and humility made for a memorable evening. Don’t miss this wonderful woman when she returns, as I’m sure she will.

Mahboba’s Promise

I first heard Mahboba Rawi being interviewed by Geraldine Doogue on ABC radio’s Saturday Extra in June 2009. It was utterly inspirational.

It all began with a letter from a young Afghani doctor begging for help to save refugee orphans dying on the streets of Kabul. Mahboba and her friends raised $120 to help out. To prove the orphans had received the money, the young doctor sent back the children’s fingerprints.

Mahboba

Mahboba’s Promise was established in 1998 as a not-for-profit charity funded entirely by private donations and dedicated to helping the widows and the large number of orphaned children of Afghanistan.

The promise Mahboba made was to continue to help these widows and orphans for the rest of her life and that she would make people in Australia and the world aware of their suffering.

Currently the organisation looks after over 4,000 widows and orphans through 90 projects and is closely aligned with UNICEF.

I wholeheartedly support Mahboba’s Promise. A proportion of every sale of my music is pledged to it.

‘Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps’

Originally written by Cuban songwriter Osvaldo Farrés and known as “Quizás, Quizás, Quizás”, the English lyrics were written by Joe Davis.

It was first recorded in 1948 by Desi Arnaz (whose better half was the hilarious Lucille Ball) but it was the classic Doris Day version which cemented this song’s place in music history.

I put together this karaoke video for my online English Language students in China, Japan and Korea.

 

It features photos of Melbourne’s lovely Botanical Gardens.

Music production was by New Zealand producer, Gavin Northcroft (see previous post).

There’s no bouncing ball, but lyrics are provided, so there’s no excuse not to belt it out!

For the computer muzos out there, it was sequenced using Propellerhead’s ‘Reason’. (Yes, I know, ‘propellor’ should have an ‘o’, but, er… it’s Swedish, after all…)

Gavin Northcroft

I’ve been working with Gavin now for years! He’s one of the nicest, most humble guys out and has an extensive command of music sequencing programs. During the 10 years I lived in Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, we spent many a long day sequencing tracks at his studio and generally experimenting with ideas.

Gavin Northcroft

With nearly 30 years of experience in the music industry, including keyboards and vocalist for numerous bands, Gavin has been sequencing / programming (music production) since 1988, producing music for film and radio jingles as well as doing session work for original artists and on band albums.

Gavin came to Melbourne to sequence the 4 songs on my EP, ‘Perhaps’ and it only served to remind me what a great talent he is. And, of course, a true friend for life!

Adam Simmons

“One of this country’s most electrifying instrumentalists”

Adam Simmons

I absolutely LOVED what he did on Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’

Have a listen:

 

Or if you prefer it with a quirky B+W record spinning away…

 

Check out Adam and all the projects he’s involved with here.