Chairperson’s Bulletin No. 3 – 2015

The VPTA has been asking the Victorian Minister for Housing’s office about the State Government approach to increasing the supply of social housing properties. To date, no response has been received. The State Budget, to be released this month, may shed some light on proposed expenditure on public housing. Below is an extract from Labor’s 2014 Victorian election platform: Housing – Labor believes that all Victorians have a right to safe, affordable, and secure housing. Having a home provides the foundation for financial, social and emotional security. A strong and sustainable social housing sector is critical to ensuring that all Victorians can own or rent housing that meets their needs. Labor will:
  • Continue to expand Victoria’s social housing assets through the National Affordable Housing Agreement and State initiatives
  • Promote and expand not-for-profit, community-based Housing Associations
  • Investigate alternative housing finance options for social and public housing
  • Encourage local government to develop initiatives that facilitate greater private and community investment in affordable housing
  • Ensure that social housing tenants are supported to maintain their tenancy by providing well-located housing close to jobs and services, with appropriate support in place for those with complex needs
  • Lobby the Commonwealth to continue to play an active role in housing supply
  • Enhance the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA)
  • Assist public and social housing tenants to buy housing through home ownership schemes
  • Ensure that Places Victoria and other statutory authorities promote a range of housing choices at suitable sites across the State
  • Ensure Victoria’s planning system and building regulations encourage the redevelopment of under-utilised urban sites to achieve appropriate urban densities of housing
  • Work with the housing industry to stimulate investment in housing developments in regional and rural Victoria
  • Ensure Victoria’s planning system and building regulations require new construction to incorporate universal design principles that facilitate better access for persons with disability and older persons
Neighbourhood Renewal – Labor recognises the enormous progress that has been made in communities that have undertaken Neighbourhood Renewal projects. Labor will continue with a progressive program of urban renewal to ensure that areas with high concentrations of public housing enjoy increased amenity, access to public open spaces and a mix of housing tenures, density and social mix to better reflect surrounding communities. This will involve direct investment by Government partnering with housing associations and the private sector. Tenancy and Private Rental – Labor believes the provision of more secure, affordable and appropriate housing in the private rental market is essential. Labor will:
  • Review and strengthen the Residential Tenancy Act and Residential Tenancies Regulations to ensure effective consumer protection and improved housing standards
  • Ensure that a review of the Residential Tenancy Act and Residential Tenancies Regulations examines reforms to specifically:
    • Mandate a standard tenure of leases to be offered in the market environment under normal circumstances
    • Encourage greater length and security of tenure
    • Ensure access to transparent and independent mechanisms for reviewing rental increases
  • Strengthen maintenance regimes for rental properties
  • Reform minimum standards for rental properties to improve water and energy efficiency standards
  • Outlaw the practice of rental bidding or rental auctions
  • Work with all levels of Government to encourage greater investment in affordable rental housing, increasing the supply of homes available for private rental across a diverse range of sizes and locations
  • Review and strengthen the regulation for tenure in relocatable housing and caravan parks
  • Ensure that public housing tenants are not discouraged from social and economic participation by the prospect of immediate rent rises when their income increases