Today is a good day for people who live in public housing, people who live in community housing, and people on the long waitlist.
By exempting social housing properties from rates in metropolitan Melbourne and key regional centres, millions of extra dollars per year will become available for urgently needed refurbishments and improvements in public housing homes across the State.
If managed correctly, the days of waiting for responsive maintenance jobs to be completed could be over.
Importantly, the rates exemption formally acknowledges what we have known all along – public housing is essential infrastructure, just as hospitals, schools and roads. It deserves to be treated as such.
The VPTA also welcomes the introduction of the Social and Affordable Housing Contribution. An inclusionary zoning scheme for Victoria is long overdue.
Of course, nothing is perfect. We understand the Social and Affordable Housing Contribution will be placed into the existing Social Housing Growth Fund – which traditionally has funded only community housing projects. The VPTA will be advocating strongly to Government that steps be taken to ensure that the funds will also be available for growth in publicly owned and managed properties.
Chief Executive Officer of the VPTA, Katelyn Butterss, said:
“There’s a lot to like in today’s announcement.
Much of our public housing stock in Victoria is old, and in desperate need of modification, energy efficiency upgrades, and key improvements – such as the addition of air conditioning. By making these additional funds available, these works will be able to be completed more quickly. This will be a huge relief to thousands across the State.
We applaud the creation of the Social and Affordable Housing Contribution – an extra 1,700 homes each year are sorely needed. We call on the Government to ensure that at least a portion of these new homes are publicly owned and managed.
This is not the end of the road. The need for housing assistance is great, and the upcoming 10 Year Social and Affordable Housing Strategy must set forward additional growth targets, including public housing growth, so that every Victorian can have a safe and secure place to call home.”