Victoria to build 12,000 homes under $5.3b public housing blitz

By Shannon Jenkins

November 16, 2020


A new Victorian government agency has been established to deliver and manage public housing as part of the state’s $5.3 billion commitment to construct more than 12,000 new homes over the next four years.

The historic investment will be delivered as part of the upcoming state budget, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday.

The public housing blitz is expected to generate roughly $6.7 billion in economic activity and will support around 10,000 jobs per year, with 10% of the work on major projects to be undertaken by apprentices, cadets and trainees, and a quarter of the funding to go to regional Victoria.

The state’s social housing supply will increase by 10%, with 9,300 new social housing homes — which will replace 1,100 old public housing units — and 2,900 new affordable and low-cost homes. The dwellings will meet 7-star energy efficiency standards.

To fix the “broken” mental health system, 2,000 of the new social housing homes will be for Victorians living with mental illness. People who have experienced domestic violence will receive 1,000 homes, with another 1,000 to be provided to Indigenous Victorians.

The investment also aims to support pensioners, Victorians with disability, single parent families, and low-to-moderate income earners.

“This will change lives — giving thousands of Victorians the security and stability of a home, and tens of thousands of Victorians a job,” Andrews said.

“It’s a profound investment in a stronger, fairer Victoria — a Victoria that recognises everyone deserves a place to call home.”

A new agency, Homes Victoria, has been established to work across government, industry and the social housing sector to “deliver this record housing growth and to manage existing public housing”.

Read more: Government response to COVID-19 impacts on housing system well-coordinated, but more work needed, research finds

Council to Homeless Persons CEO Jenny Smith said the build would make the Victorian community stronger and more resilient, and has called on the federal government to match the state’s investment to “amplify” its benefits.

“This is an historic level of investment in social housing by a state. This will deliver the housing that is urgently needed for people without a home, as well as delivering thousands of jobs across Victoria,” she said.

“Lack of social housing has been driving people into homelessness, and making it almost impossible for people to escape homelessness. Without a secure affordable home, it is almost unachievable for people to engage in education or employment, much less to maintain their health and wellbeing.

“We congratulate the Victorian government for making this historic commitment to fundamental infrastructure for individual and community wellbeing.”

The announcement has also been welcomed by the Victorian Greens, the Property Council of Australia, the Victorian Council of Social Services, and the Australian Services Union.

Read more: Victorian government failing to provide long-term housing to rough sleepers, audit finds


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