Students occupying houses in Faraday Street, Carlton, owned by the University of Melbourne were given until 5pm on Friday 28 November to leave voluntarily or face eviction. A rally called for 12 noon on the day drew support from students, unionists and the general community.
Text of call-out from S.H.A.C. – the Student Housing Action Co-operative/Collective:
Call out for support of the Student Housing Action Cooperative (SHAC).
SHAC is a collective of students and supporters who have been occupying four vacant buildings owned by the University of Melbourne for nearly four months in a campaign to secure affordable student housing, starting with turning the occupied buildings into a student-run housing cooperative. There’s a critical shortage of housing in inner city Melbourne with a vacancy rate of less than 1% and rents still going up at astronomical rates. Low-income students are spending more than 40% of their incomes on rent. International students are particularly affected by the lack of affordable housing, mostly being offered accommodation in overpriced apartments without legal rights due to exemptions from the Residential Tenancies Act. Now SHAC is facing eviction. Melbourne Uni have asked us to ‘voluntarily’ leave on the 28th (reminiscent of their staff voluntary redundancy offers, perhaps?). We’re not planning on going anywhere (unless they hand us the keys to another property). Community support has always been the backbone of our campaign and we won’t be able to win without it. So come along and show your support for SHAC and the affordable student housing cause. Rally out the front of SHAC 272-278 Faraday Street, Carlton, Friday 28th November 12pm.
Support also came in the form of a letter to university vice-chancellor Glyn Davis from Brian Boyd, secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, threatening serious consequences on the part of the union movement if the students were evicted. An attempt was made to deliver a copy of this letter to the vice-chancellor in person, without success.
On the march though the campus.
S.H.A.C. has a website at http://shacmelbourne.blogspot.com/