Friday, January 25, 2008

Richardson has no answers for The Melbourne Times

This week's edition of The Melbourne Times includes a short report on the Roberts Street public housing redevelopment in Northcote ('Critics want more details on doomed housing estate', p.7). In it Northcote MP Fiona Richardson has no response to objections raised over the lack of public information on asbestos, except to insinuate that valid, documented concerns somehow threaten to undermine the project.

Unfortunately for the spurious argument put forward by the Northcote MP, there is widespread and strong support for the project among those holding the concerns she continues to ignore. With more than 40,000 people on Victoria's public housing transfer and waiting lists, there is an urgent need for more public housing. New housing for the elderly is most welcome. That doesn't mean that well founded concerns about asbestos should be ignored in cases such as the redevelopment at Roberts Street.

On the day Richardson spoke to The Melbourne Times, I sent her and housing minister Richard Wynne ten questions that need to be answered publicly as a matter of urgency. We shouldn't have to wait for a spin-doctor's newsletter promised for an unspecified time before the demolition starts. And it's not enough to say the issues will be resolved at closeted meetings held when few people can attend, and for which no minutes are available.

For more background on the delayed response of the State Government, and its reluctance to release timely information about asbestos to the public, please read the previous post.

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Comments are most welcome on any of the posts at Northcote Independent. I encourage feedback - positive or negative. Feel free to disagree, but remember that posts are moderated to ensure they are on the topic and in the spirit of open debate, as outlined in my editorial policy.