VPTA Annual General Meeting tomorrow (Tuesday)
Our 2016 AGM will be held tomorrow – Tuesday, 20th Sept – commencing at 2pm in the VPTA office at 11 High Street, Northcote. It is not too late to register your attendance, but you must do so by 5pm today. Use the ‘Register Now’ link on the Home Page of our website – https://vpta.org.au/ – or telephone the office directly on 1800 015 510.
Our 2015 – 2016 Annual Report will be presented at the AGM and copies will be available to those attending. It will also be available electronically via our website later this week.
New VPTA staff members
The VPTA has created a new staff position – Community Tenant Engagement Officer. Michele McNeil has been employed in this part-time role and is currently contacting local Housing offices to meet staff, promote the VPTA and provide advice on how the VPTA can help tenants and HSOs. Michele will be working on a number of tenant engagement projects, including visits to estates and community forums.
Michael Aboujundi has worked for the VPTA on a casual basis for a number of years, assisting in the office when we have a high volume of work to complete in a short time or when other staff are unavailable. Through careful financial management, the VPTA is now in a position to employ Michael on a permanent part-time basis. Michael will continue to help out in the office, particularly in the role of responding to tenants’ inquiries on housing-related matters.
Both Michele and Michael will be present at our Annual General Meeting, along with other staff and members of the VPTA Board.
Our 2015–2016 financial records were thoroughly audited and the feedback from our Auditors was pleasing. Our Finance Officer, David Hand, was commended for his thorough record-keeping and our accountability processes were assessed as rigorous and comprehensive. The audited Financial Report will be presented by VPTA Treasurer, Chris Artufel, at the AGM.
Our Executive Officer, Mark Feenane, has continued negotiations with DHHS regarding our Funding and Service Agreement, which has resulted in a further small increase over the next two years.
The VPTA Board is looking at other sources of potential income for the VPTA and has made some recommendations for further investigation. Our Charity Status provides us with opportunity to market the VPTA as a recipient of tax-free donations and we are taking steps towards this goal.
Housing Week 2016
The VPTA celebrated this year’s Housing Week with our ‘Public and Proud’ Exhibition, currently on display at the State Government Offices in Mair Street, Ballarat (until September 23rd). The exhibition is expected to tour other DHHS offices around the State.
‘Public and Proud’ showcases the significant contributions made to Australia by current and former public housing tenants. The exhibition features profiles of prominent Australians and is designed to challenge popular misconceptions about people who live in public housing. The complete series can be found on the VPTA website: https://vpta.org.au/public-proud/
We also held an event locally – ‘One Northcote’ – at which Public Housing Tenants invited their neighbours from private residences to morning tea to discuss community concerns. This event was organized by VPTA staff, with support from Jika Jika Community Centre.
The Minister for Housing, Martin Foley, made several announcements during Housing Week. Perhaps the most exciting of these was the announcement of $30 million in funding to kick-start the redevelopment of the Flemington estate and regeneration of Flemington’s 22 walk-up buildings. The tenant consultation phase of this project is expected to commence in the near future, after some initial work, such as land surveying and soil testing is completed.
Victorian Housing Strategy
We have been advised that the Victorian Government will release its Housing Strategy later this year. The Minister, in his speech at the announcement of the Flemington Estate redevelopment, said that all redevelopments need to deliver a 10% increase in public housing. It is good news to hear the Minister talk of measures to increase housing stock.
The VPTA is continuing to advocate for more stock to meet need and has been involved in some high-level discussions via the Family Violence Housing Assistance Implementation Taskforce to tackle the issue of increasing supply. The Government’s Housing Strategy will need to not only address construction and redevelopments, but, most importantly, consider the matter of funding public housing growth.