The trouble-plagued Parkville youth justice centre should be transformed into public and social housing to address Victoria’s extreme housing affordability crisis, advocates say.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced this week that a $288 million juvenile prison will be built in Werribee South by 2020, with the government currently considering “the next steps” for the Parkville facility, which won’t be retrofitted.

A review last month into the Parkville site found it “uninhabitable” and more suitable for residential purposes rather than as a prison. It will continue to operate while the Werribee prison is built.

Melbourne Youth Justice Centre

Housing affordability advocates are set to call on the government to turn the youth justice centre into affordable housing. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Multiple affordable housing advocacy groups will soon write to the state government to suggest the complex is transformed into community housing.

The government-owned land in Parkville provides an opportunity for the government to address the affordable housing crisis in Victoria, Community Housing Federation of Victoria policy director Steve Staikos says.

“It’s a prime piece of real estate, in a very well located area close to services, jobs and all sorts of different positive attributes,” Mr Staikos said. “If the government does decide to decommission it, our view and the view of community housing providers would be that it’s a good idea to partner with our sector and deliver social and affordable housing on site.”

Youths protesting on the roof of the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre at Parkville in March last year. Photo: Jesse Marlow

Launch Housing CEO Tony Keenan said action needed to be taken now to begin to address the crisis in Victoria.

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