Over the last weekend we saw four new housing policy announcements from the Victorian Government.
This is a clear indication that the comprehensive Victorian Housing Policy will be released in the coming days.
The policies announced include;
• $10 million to upgrade 3 Government owned rooming houses in Carlton, South Melbourne and Ballarat
• $10 million to upgrade sector owned rooming houses
• The abolition of stamp duty for first home buyers spending less than $600,000
• A concession on stamp duty for first home buyers spending between $600,000 and $750,000
• The introduction of a Vacant Residential Property Tax
• Introduction of a shared equity scheme, HomesVic, for the Government to part-own up to 400 properties with first home buyers
• A Government contribution of $5 million to the community sector shared equity scheme BuyAssist
• The doubling of the First Home Owner Grant, from $10,000 to $20,000, for those purchasing in regional Victoria.
The VPTA has argued for years that the Victorian Government should have a comprehensive housing strategy. This was a central demand in our “Making Social Housing Work” policy document released with other peak housing organisations.
The demand for a comprehensive housing strategy recognises that each part of the housing market impacts on the whole. If more people are able to buy their first home, pressure will be reduced on the rental market, both public and private.
We commend the Victorian Government on the announcements thus far and we look forward to analysing the final strategy.
Most importantly, we look forward to the strategy being implemented.
Implementation will require the efforts not only of the Government, but the Opposition as well. And as we wrote last week, local government has a strategic role.
Focus will also turn to the Commonwealth. Currently there is no Commonwealth Minister for Housing. Unsurprisingly, there is no comprehensive strategy on dealing with the housing crisis.
Alarmingly, there is a failure to recognise that we have a housing crisis.
So even though we are taking great steps forward in Victoria, there is still plenty of work to do.