Early incarnations of a public housing tenants’ association, such as the Public Tenants Union, were established in Victoria to represent the interests of Tenant Groups and public housing tenants generally, by advocating to Government and the Office of Housing on issues of concern. These organisations were all de-funded during the 1990s.
The Victorian Public Tenants Association was founded in 2000 to represent Public Housing Tenant Groups. Funding was provided by the Office of Housing, enabling the VPTA to employ staff. Interim funding was later replaced by three-year Service Agreements and a permanent office in Northcote. These achievements were thanks to the efforts of interested tenants, all volunteers, who had lobbied State Government during 1999-2000 to fund an organisation that could represent Tenant Groups effectively and establish new Tenant Groups where public housing tenants remained unrepresented.
Originally, VPTA membership and Committee participation was open only to Tenant Groups, but this was found to not fully represent public housing tenants across Victoria, many of whom did not have an active Tenant Group in their area. In 2008 a comprehensive review of the VPTA’s Constitution was undertaken, which resulted in the decision to change membership and Committee election to individual, rather than Group membership.
A further review during 2015 resulted in the removal of membership provisions in the Constitution, enabling all public housing tenants to participate in, and be represented by, the VPTA. Member elections for Committee of Management positions were replaced by Board appointments that included, but were not limited to, public housing tenants, enabling the VPTA to seek external expertise on its governing body to support the Association’s mission.
The Department of Health and Human Services, under its Tenant Participation program, funds the VPTA as the state-wide peak organisation for public housing tenants. We provide services for Public Housing Tenants and Tenant Groups around the State.
The organisation’s original aim of advocacy and representation of public housing tenants across Victoria remains the priority concern of the VPTA today. We are engaged in regular consultation forums with the Department to discuss issues that affect tenants, including service provision and delivery.
We continue to advocate on behalf of public housing tenants to improve and expand public housing in Victoria and strive to ensure that it is available for all those who need it.
Pictorial History of the VPTA
To view the Pictorial History of the VPTA, please access our website on a desktop, laptop or tablet.
Victorian Public Tenants Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government and Public Record Office Victoria for making the Pictorial History project possible.