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We Live Here

11 Feb 2016

This is the first column of the We Live Here movement. We hope it will become a regular feature of CBD News, Docklands News and Southbank Local News. We would welcome suggestions for topics for future editions.

The aim of this column is to highlight issues affecting high-density owners and residents living in Melbourne.

The We Live Here movement has been created because apartment owners and residents have unique problems that are not being adequately addressed by laws and regulations.

In the space of a few weeks since our very well-attended launch last December, a total of 60 apartment buildings have thrown their support behind the movement.

The movement originated from the long drawn-out and ongoing efforts of the Watergate building’s owners’ corporation to regulate short-stays in its residential building. Increasing numbers of residents and owners across Melbourne are getting in touch wanting to become involved. It has become apparent there is widespread community frustration and anger about issues of high-density living that are not being adequately addressed.

The main purpose of the We Live Here movement is to give a voice to owners and residents and to focus energy towards achieving lasting change.

We will be initiating a number of activities including conducting social media and lobbying campaigns to bring about the changes. We need to:

  • Support owners and residents on issues affecting apartment living;
  • Maintain residential apartment buildings for long-term residential accommodation; and
  • Enhance a sense of community in residential apartment buildings.

Some of the issues not being adequately addressed by authorities relate to town planning, short-stays in residential buildings, health and safety, fire safety, disability access, parking, equitable levies, insurance, serious building defects, shortage of schools and much more.

We are beginning with a campaign directed towards the proper regulation of short-stay apartments. In the first instance we will focus on the Independent Panel on Short-Stays set up by the State Government last year, with recommendations due to be handed down shortly.

We believe the process was seriously flawed because:

  • The terms of reference for the panel were too narrow;
  • The selection of panel members was not rigorous enough and allowed for conflicts of interest;
  • There was inadequate representation of owners and residents;
  • No opportunity was provided for non-panel members to make submissions directly to the panel; and
  • Additional consultations conducted by the Government following release of the panel report were with panel members only.

This is just the beginning and who knows what we shall be tackling in the months ahead!

If you would like to become involved in the We Live Here movement you can register your support at www.welivehere.net

The website will be continually updated with information about forthcoming events and milestones, and there will be regular direct communications with supporters.

Please send any suggestions or enquiries to campaign@welivehere.net

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