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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, No. 1, March 1, 1976

The Public Trust Affair

The Public Trust Affair

About 30 houses in the Kelburn area are being administered by the Public Trust and are leased to the general public. Some houses have ridiculously low rents but it seems that as long as the Public Trust obtains an income from each which satisfies the Education Department then they don't need to raise the rent. The crunch lies in the fact that these houses should have been given to the Studass ages ago but for various reasons this hasn't been done. Mainly because the Studass isn't capable at present of administering a reasonable number of flats. But it can be, and would even like to.

Another sticky problem is that if a transfer is to be effected, whereby the Studass takes over the flats from the Public Trust, then the decision will have to be a political one. And as some of us know, politicians don't like making decisions which may smell "discriminatory ". The issue would probably be this: should one section of the community (namely students)have preference over the rest of the public, assuming both groups have a similar right to accomodation?

If the Government wants a university in Wgtn and for the purposes of this argument we will assume they do, then surely it is in their interests to assist in seeing that students have enough accomodation. The practicalities of booting nonstudents out of the flats would have to be carefully considered. That relates to the above point covering basic human rights which belong to all of us. It would need thoughtful consideration and discussion.

Studass is prepared to become a landlord and assuming they investigate thoroughly what is needed to administer a large number of flats and act accordingly then theoretically the idea could work. The University and Government should seriously consider Studass as an alternative landlord of properties presently administered by the Public Trust.