As coronavirus threatens to derail Victoria’s economy, the community housing industry is capable of providing a vital lifeline, just as it did during the GFC when it leveraged the Rudd Government’s stimulus package.
During the GFC, our industry built 19,700 social housing units across Australia, 13% more than the target. A KMPG evaluation estimated the social housing push increased FTE jobs in construction and other areas by 14,000 during the stimulus period.
Our industry has a number of shovel ready projects awaiting funding and there can be no doubt of the need. The latest figures from December have the number of low-income households on the waitlist for social housing topping 51,646. With the unemployment rate predicted to reach 10 per cent, this is only going to grow exponentially.
A social housing stimulus would enable Victoria to seize this opportunity to increase our social housing stock. Now, more than ever, Victorians need the safety and security of a job and a home. And, as SGS Economics commentator Terry Rawnsley pointed out (The Age, 16/4), ‘Social housing, after all, is not a cost to Victorian taxpayers, it’s an investment in an asset’.