Victorians invited to have say on 10-year social and affordable housing strategy

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday February 9, 2021

Richard Wynne (AAP Image/Erik Anderson)

The Victorian government has opened consultation on its 10-year strategy for social and affordable housing, and has invited stakeholders and the community to have a say by April 9.

Housing minister Richard Wynne on Tuesday launched a discussion paper setting out the draft directions for the strategy.

“This 10-year strategy will provide the roadmap for a stronger and more sustainable housing system for Victoria,” he said in a statement.

“People will be at the centre of this strategy — and we want to hear from as many Victorians as possible through the consultation process.”

The plan will focus on combining the skills, expertise and capacity of stakeholders from all levels of government, as well as the community housing, private and community services sectors, according to the state government.

The paper noted that to achieve the government’s vision for all Victorians to have access to a safe, affordable and appropriate home, “significant support and growth in capacity from all organisations that contribute to the supply of housing” — including all levels of government — would be required.

Engagement with government, industry, the housing and homelessness sectors, existing residents, and Victorians will be guided by four focus areas for action, including:

  • Pathways — Providing information and support to people to access the housing they need, sustain their tenancy and to move to sustainable housing.
  • Communities — Enabling tenants to live in housing that is built for the future, with access to social and economic opportunities and within diverse, inclusive and vibrant communities.
  • Growth — Growing the supply of social and affordable housing to meet need.
  • Partnerships — Partnering across all levels of government, the community housing sector, industry and the community to deliver the vision.

The paper has also outlined four principles to underpin the strategy: people at the centre; shared action and accountability; maximising value; and sustainability.

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

Last year the state government committed $5.3 billion to construct more than 12,000 new homes over four years, dubbed the Big Housing Build.

While the new strategy will be part of that build, the discussion paper noted that ongoing social and affordable housing challenges in the state would need to be addressed well beyond the housing blitz’s completion — particularly in light of the new challenges posed by COVID-19.

“The new strategy will establish the 10-year vision for social and affordable housing in Victoria and build on the success of the Big Housing Build and other investment to date by the Victorian government,” it said.

“It will establish a view on what success looks like for people, enablers of the overall housing system, and importantly the actions we need to take to get there.”

There are currently around 65,000 public housing properties in Victoria, as well as roughly 17,000 long-term community housing properties, including 2,000 Aboriginal community housing properties. The discussion paper noted that Victoria has the lowest proportion of social housing in Australia (3% of all dwellings compared to the national average of 4.2%), and has not kept up with demand.

There are also more than 48,000 households currently registered for social housing through the Victorian Housing Register. Of those, 25,800 require “urgent assistance”.

Community and stakeholder consultation closes on April 9, with the strategy expected to be launched in late 2021.

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


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