Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Three Cheers for Richard Wynne!

Finally, three months after I wrote to him, Richard Wynne has today replied to my email of 10 April regarding the Roberts Street Northcote housing redevelopment and the relocation of the current tenants. That is, I think it was a reply from Wynne. It certainly appears to have been written from his point of view ('I announced on 22 February...' etc.), but is signed by some housing bureaucrat and not even on behalf of Wynne himself.

Naturally, the letter either fails to answer my questions, or provides answers I have found out myself in the three-month lapse since I first wrote to the minister. Naturally the letter also glibly states a commitment to appropriate consultation and invites participation in a committee that meets at a time when most people are working.

While I've already said what I think of the process in an earlier post, a good example of the standard of consultation on this matter is the Office of Housing's own website. Despite the project being announced on 22 February, and despite a web presence for other redevelopment projects, there is nothing on the Office of Housing site regarding the Roberts Street redevelopment – no terms of reference, no minutes of meetings, no media releases – nothing. This despite a luke-warm reassurance given at the June public forum.

Well, I read in the Northcote Leader today that the Roberts Street tenants have begun to move out, first among them a tenant who'd been active speaking up for his neighbours in the flats. You can draw your own conclusions about that, and while you're at it hope for the best for the other tenants to be relocated within a public housing system stressed to the limit through government neglect.

My advice to Wynne is that if he can't provide timely and meaningful answers to questions asked in the public interest, he should ideally resign, or, at the very least, not waste the government's resources sending late, meaningless replies destined for the recycle bin.

Three cheers for Richard! I guess it's just another of those 'Wynne results' touted on his personal blog – a 'Wynne win' you might say, but not if you were a Roberts Street tenant.

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