'Deeply disturbing' Ombudsman findings will be referred to Public Housing Inquiry, says Greens MP

The damning findings from today's Ombudsman's Report is yet another example of Labor's war on public housing tenants, and these issues must be referred to the Public Housing Inquiry that is currently before the Parliament's Legal and Social Issues Committee, says Ellen Sandell, Greens MP for Melbourne and housing spokesperson.

The Minister, Martin Foley, will also be asked to come before the Inquiry to explain these findings.

The Ombudsman has found systemic and 'deeply disturbing' problems in the way the Labor Government deals with tenants once they leave public housing - including charging highly vulnerable people over-inflated sums for damage they didn't cause, dragging people through VCAT for debts they cannot pay, incompetent and unsupervised staff. In some cases the Government is refusing services to vulnerable people until they repay a debt they didn't even know they had, for damages they did not cause.

In July the Victorian Auditor General also reported that Labor had no clear long-term plan for public housing.

There is currently an Inquiry into the Government's plans for development on nine public housing estates in Melbourne, and its terms of reference allow it to investigate other matters related to public housing.

Quotes attributable to Ellen Sandell MP, State Member for Melbourne, Greens Spokesperson for Housing:

"Today I have written to the Legal and Social Issues Parliamentary Committee asking them to investigate these issues and to call Martin Foley, Minister for Housing, before the Inquiry to face up under oath to these 'deeply disturbing' allegations of appalling treatment of vulnerable people on his watch."

"Highly vulnerable and low-income people are being charged thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands, for damage they didn't cause because of incompetence and mismanagement by this Labor Government."

"This is just more evidence of Labor's war on public housing tenants. Waiting lists continue to spiral out of control, Labor can't wait to sell off public housing land to developers, maintenance and security is a mess, and now even the Ombudsman finds gross examples of mismanagement and appalling treatment of public housing tenants and family violence victims under Labor."


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