THE state Labor government has revealed its next budget will have a $5.3 billion plan to build public and community housing across Victoria, with Geelong to get at least $180 million and the Surf Coast at least $20 million.
The “Big Housing Build”, announced by Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday, will construct more than 12,000 new homes throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria, as well as supporting about 10,000 jobs per year over the next four year.
This package will boost the state’s social housing supply by 10 per cent in four years.
The investment will deliver 9,300 new social housing homes, including replacing 1,100 old public housing units. Of these new homes, 2,000 will be earmarked for Victorians living with mental illness.
A further 2,900 new affordable and low-cost homes will be built to help low-to-moderate income earners live closer to where they work and provide options for private rental.
The new homes will meet 7-star energy efficiency standards, making them more comfortable during summer and winter, and saving tenants on their power bills.
“I’ve always believed that you can judge a society by how it treats its least fortunate, and Victoria passes that test with this unprecedented housing blitz,” South Barwon Labor MP Darren Cheeseman said.
“This will mean homes for those in need and jobs for local workers.”
The “Big Housing Build” will generate an estimated $6.7 billion in economic activity and supporting a peak of more than 18,000 jobs – with 10 per cent of the work on major projects to be done by apprentices, cadets and trainees.
Hundreds of new jobs will be created for women, Aboriginal Victorians, people with disability, social housing tenants and people from diverse backgrounds through social procurement targets. A
new state government agency, Homes Victoria, has been established to work across government, industry and the social housing sector to deliver the new houses and to manage existing public housing.
The Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS), the state’s peak social advocacy body, has praised the announcement.
“This colossal investment will mean fewer people cold, hungry and homeless, and more people in work. It’s that simple,” VCOSS chief executive officer Emma King said.
“A single investment of this scale has not been seen in many decades, if ever. It’s a gamechanger.”