CHIA Vic has written to Treasurer Pallis to provide input into the first budget of this new government.
We argued that this budget provides a great opportunity to build on the new government’s momentum and tackle the bleak picture for those in housing need, as outlined in the Report on Government Services released last month. The report noted:
• Victoria spends the lowest amount per head of population on social housing – $82.94 when the national average is $166.93.
• Net recurrent expenditure on public housing decreased from $457m in 2014/15 to $412m in 2017/18.
• In the five years to 2018, the total number of long-term social housing dwellings (both public and community housing) increased by only 42.
Against this backdrop, funding has recently been announced for 680 new rental properties to be leased by the community housing sector under the New Rental Development Program (see press release). The Build to Operate program, which is also part of the Social Housing Growth Fund, is at the Request for Proposal stage and we understand that the government is overwhelmingly positive about the response to this program.
These initiatives, plus the commitment to build 1,000 new public housing properties, will provide a much needed to boost to stock supplies. However, while the initiatives in train are valuable they are not enough.
Fortuitously, we have a Build-to-Operate program that has been oversubscribed with the number of high-quality proposals far exceeding the amount of funding that is available. Many of these projects are time sensitive in that they are partnerships with developers, and if funding is not made available in this round then the project will not proceed at all.
We urged the Treasurer to allocate additional funding to allow all of the projects to proceed. This would be a quick win for the government where no departmental design or development work would be required as all the systems and staff are in place.
In addition to more funding for the Build–to-Operate program, we would like to see funding allocated in the State Budget to:
• deliver the Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework
• evaluate the current inclusionary housing pilot and identify more parcels of government land for a further round
• implement the Community Housing Industry Transition Plan.