The State Government’s $2.6 billion Budget commitment to the 2026 Commonwealth Games must leave a lasting legacy of new social and affordable homes in regional Victoria, according to the Community Housing Industry Association (Victoria).
There are almost 15,000 households waiting for social housing across Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Gippsland and the Commonwealth Games provides an opportunity to build athlete villages that can be transformed into long term social housing for low-income Victorians beyond 2026.
This would boost regional housing supply, in addition to the 12,000 new homes under construction across Victoria as part of the $5.3 billion Big Housing Build
With rental vacancy rates in regional Victoria of less than 1.5 per cent squeezing low-income households, creating a pipeline of new homes is a critical social investment.
The Community Housing Sector can deliver lower cost, purpose-built homes and is ready to engage with the Games organisers to ensure these villages are fit for purpose for 2026 and supports regional families to thrive into the future.
CHIA Vic welcomes the further $1 billion investment in low-interest loans and guarantees to the Community Housing Sector. To drive this dollar further and ensure the housing can be targeted to the 50,000 households waiting for social housing, it must be coupled with additional subsidies.
Sadly, this budget also cuts the successful Homelessness to Home program. There are a significant number of former rough sleepers now housed in the private rental market, with the reduction in funding, these rough sleepers face an uncertain future.
While the $75 million investment in homelessness reform in the is welcome, the cut to one of the most innovative and successful homelessness programs in Victoria’s history is a sting in the tail.
Quotes attributable to CHIA Vic CEO Sarah Toohey
“With almost 15,000 households waiting for social housing across Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Gippsland, repurposing the 5000 homes required for 2026 Commonwealth Games athletes for social housing would leave a lasting legacy that changes lives.”
“The State Budget includes significant investment in regional Victoria, but with rental vacancy rates at less than 1.5 per cent, low-income households in regional Victoria are being squeezed.”
“Creating a pipeline of new homes is a critical social investment.”
“The Homelessness to Home Program was an Australian first, getting more than 1800 people sleeping rough into homes. There are now hundreds of former rough sleepers in the private rental market, and the reductions in funding in this budget puts those rough sleepers at risk.”
For interviews or more information:
CHIA Vic Communications Manager
0448 505 517