The Victorian Public Tenants Association has welcomed the Andrews Government’s boost to TAFE, mental health and family violence services in the 2018/19 State Budget.
Mark Feenane Executive Officer of the Victorian Public Tenants Association (VPTA) said that much of the new funding will help public housing tenants; however, the Budget lacked any serious commitment to tackling Victoria’s current housing crisis.
“Right now, there are around 40,000 Victorians languishing on the waiting list for social housing. Support services are critical, but they only go so far if people don’t have a place to call home.”
Housing affordability is the worst it’s ever been in Victoria, with 99 per cent of Melbourne rentals deemed unaffordable for people on welfare.
Infrastructure Victoria has listed affordable housing growth among its top three priorities, with a need for 30,000 additional dwellings to be built in the next decade just to keep up with population growth.
Mr Feenane said that the State Government has begun to respond to the housing crisis with significant investment in social housing over the last four years, however, a sustained effort is needed if the problem is ever going to be tackled.
“For many Victorians, public and community housing is all that stands between them and homelessness. The demand for social housing is increasing and we need a commitment from all sides of politics to increase social housing stock sooner, rather than later.”
Looking at social services more broadly, the VPTA has welcomed the delivery of:
- $22 million for the Rough Sleeping Action Plan
- $705 million for more mental health support, extra regional rehabilitation facilities and new emergency department crisis hubs
- $172 million to make training at TAFE free for 30 priority courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses
- $21.9 million in specialised support programs to help long-term unemployed Victorians
- $42.5 million to prevent the scourge of family violence
Today’s housing affordability crisis is the result of years of neglect and underinvestment by successive state and federal governments, and it will take years of smart thinking and steady investment to reverse the situation.
The VPTA look forward to working with all political parties in the lead up to the November state election to develop a cross-party solution that will ensure more social housing stock into the future.