Policy Confusion on Watsonia Grove


Over the last 18 months the Victorian Public Tenants Association has been talking a lot about DHHS vacant land. In relation to the Huttonham Estate in Preston or vacant lots in Braybrook and Geelong our message was the same: publicly owned vacant should be used to build public housing and to combat the housing crisis.

And we have seen some positive developments. A 68 unit public housing development has now been approved for the Huttonham Estate. We hope that building will commence urgently.

In Maidstone, vacant VicRoads land is being used to provide temporary accommodation for people who have been sleeping rough.

And the Government packaged up 52 vacant sites throughout Melbourne’s west and Geelong for additional housing.

In the Geelong region, the following sites were included in the project:

  • 13 Watsonia Grove Norlane
  • 48 & 52 Bellbird Ave Norlane
  • 67 Eagle Pde Norlane
  • 45 Forster St Norlane
  • 16 Kookaburra Ct Norlane
  • 59 North Shore Rd Norlane
  • 18 Pettitt Cres Norlane
  • 52 Princes Hwy Norlane
  • 39 Robin Ave Norlane
  • 51 Rose Ave Norlane
  • 28 Sparks Rd Norlane
  • 23 Station St Norlane
  • 38 Swallow Cres Norlane
  • 56-8 Swallow Cres Norlane
  • 34 Tallis St Norlane
  • 564 & 568 Thompson Rd Norlane
  • 10 Tulip St Norlane
  • 26 & 29 Waitara Gve Norlane
  • 8 Chaffey Sq Corio
  • 35 & 73 Fairbairn Dv Corio
  • 7 Kilpatrick Ct Corio
  • 5 McShane Ct Corio

With so many properties, the project has the potential to make a real difference to those who need affordable and secure housing in Geelong.

So it was disappointing to learn that these hard won gains have been eroded by a decision to sell off Geelong public housing that had reached the end of its life.

  • 12 Orchid St, Norlane — $250,000
  • 84 The Boulevard, Norlane — $260,000
  • 26 Watsonia Grove, Norlane — $265,000
  • 20 Gardenia Grove, Norlane — $262,000
  • 15 Moa St, Norlane — $214,000
  • 5 Titian Court, Grovedale — $375,000

It makes no sense to sell off these six sites for rock bottom prices. At 13 Watsonia Grove we are building new homes to combat the housing crisis but at 26 Watsonia Grove we would rather pocket $265,000 in a fire sale. From a public policy perspective it is a complete mess.

Over 60,000 Victorians are waiting for public and community housing. We owe it to those people to take every opportunity to expand and improve public housing in this state. Unfortunately, on this occasion, we let them down.