Chairperson’s Bulletin No. 3 – 2016

‘Housing Blitz’ recommended by Royal Commission into Family Violence

The report arising from this Commission calls for a ‘Housing Blitz’ to make more affordable housing available to victims and to ‘unblock’ the current stagnation in crisis and transitional housing while providing more longer-term social housing properties to those in need.

A new Family Violence Housing Assistance Implementation Task Force (FVHATF) is to be established. More information can be found on the VPTA website:

State Budget News

Prior to the release of the Victorian State Budget, the Government announced a $152 million package as the first step in responding to the specific housing recommendations of the Family Violence Commission. This package contains $50 million for rapid housing assistance and provides for 130 new social housing properties as a first stage and head-leasing for up to 100 dwellings.

There was no ‘new’ social housing funding contained in the Budget and the Treasurer, Hon Tim Pallas MP, admitted this was one critical area of need not addressed within this Budget. However, the Government has promised that a Victorian Affordable Housing Strategy will be released later this year.

The VPTA hopes that this will be the case. We have submitted a number of proposals on the means to increase the supply of social housing and will continue to suggest ideas that have merit, but what is needed is a commitment by Government to increase supply and decisions at the highest level on how this will be achieved.

Meeting with Housing Minister

Representatives of the VPTA met with the Victorian Minister for Housing, Hon. Martin Foley MP last month. Minister Foley had invited us to his ministerial offices primarily to highlight the opportunities to address the need for more affordable housing, as recommended by the report arising from the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Whilst the Terms of Reference for the Family Violence Housing Assistance Task Force are yet to be provided, we have received an invitation to participate in its establishment.

Meeting with new Director of Housing

Also in attendance at our meeting with Minister Foley was the new Director of Housing, Nick Foa. It was pleasing to meet with the Director in such a forum and provided the VPTA with the opportunity to chat with Nick informally, whilst presenting him with some of our recent suggestions for improving service delivery within public housing.

Shortly after this meeting, the VPTA was contacted by the Director’s office to set dates for some formal meetings with the Director and senior Departmental staff over the coming months.

The VPTA submits agenda items for such meetings – primarily these are state-wide issues affecting public housing tenants, such as policy items, policy implementation and processes and other matters over which the Department has control.

Transfers and Mutual Property Swaps

The VPTA recognises that many public housing tenants are affected by long waits for transfers and/or swaps. Often the need to move from one property to another is urgent; it may be for a safety reason or to meet critical needs such as accessible bathroom facilities.

We have developed a new Policy Position Statement on this issue, which is available to read on our website:

This Policy has been presented to the Department and we are currently negotiating with senior staff, advocating for the need for improvement and suggesting how processes might be improved to provide more timely outcomes for tenants.

Next VPTA mail-out

The Department will soon be sending out the next 6-monthly rent statement to all public housing tenant households. A flyer from the VPTA will be included in this mail-out.

Whilst this flyer is, by necessity, brief, it enables the VPTA to directly contact all public housing tenants in Victoria and explain our services. Many tenants then choose to contact us for further information.

The VPTA thanks the Department for supporting the VPTA, and public housing tenants, in this way and we will be requesting provision to continue this practice an on-going basis.