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Social Housing Growth Target

Sep 15, 2021 | Homelessness, News, Parliament

Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (13:57): My adjournment today is for Minister Wynne in the other place. Recently Infrastructure Victoria released an updated 30-year infrastructure strategy, which is now being considered by our government. Infrastructure Victoria has made 94 recommendations, one of which focuses on Victoria’s social housing strategy. The report recommends that the Victorian government, and I quote:

… set a transparent statewide social housing growth target to reach and maintain at least the national average of 4.5 social housing dwellings for every 100 households by 2031.

It is clear social housing must be a priority. At this time the social housing register is under immense pressure. Despite significant investment in social housing through the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build, more must be done. The Big Housing Build will increase Victoria’s social housing stock by 10 per cent. However, this will still not meet the national average of social housing dwellings, which is 4.5 per cent.

Social Housing

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With rents increasing further, it is even more difficult for at-risk Victorians to access safe and affordable housing. We have a homelessness crisis in Victoria. This is not in dispute. Infrastructure Victoria found only 11.4 per cent of new Victorian rentals are affordable for someone receiving Centrelink benefits, and they estimate that in order to keep up with the population growth there would need to be an additional 1700 social housing stock built each year, with up to 8300 needed annually to cover all evident need. This is both achievable and necessary. We must commit to a statewide social housing growth target that brings Victoria up to the national average of 4.5 per cent if we are going to turn this crisis around.

I know that in Eastern Metropolitan Region hidden just below the surface of our leafy greens streets many are struggling. Women and children are sleeping in their cars, having escaped family violence, young people are sleeping on friends’ couches and hundreds of people are being turned away from homelessness services each and every night. Our most vulnerable are being forced into a revolving door of rooming houses and motels. They have no stability. These Victorians are just as deserving of having a roof over their heads. It is time we caught up with the rest of the country. The government must do everything they can to provide Victorians with safe and affordable housing. That is their responsibility, so the action I seek is: will the government commit to a social housing growth target that will bring Victoria in line with the national average of 4.5 per cent by 2031?

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