Real Deal members back social housing at Games village site

November 28, 2023 BY

Real Deal for Geelong members and supporters at the site that was to be an athletes' village for the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games. Photo: CHARLIE YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHY

THE Real Deal for Geelong group is calling on the Victorian government to make social and affordable housing a priority as part of any plan to develop the site earmarked for the Commonwealth Games athletes’ village in Armstrong Creek.

The coalition of 13 community organisations, faith groups and unions says Geelong has a major shortage of one- and two -bedroom homes and rental vacancies are extremely low, placing pressure on rents.

“Housing stress has grown and grown since the last Census,” Cloverdale Community Centre (Corio) chief executive officer Liz Bonner said.

“Clearly the current approach to housing is not working and we need to be innovative and explore new solutions.

“We know of models that allow for mixed tenure housing, where build-to-rent options allow people from diverse incomes and backgrounds to have housing security supported by a not-for-profit housing developer.

“This and other models could easily turn the Commonwealth Games site into a win for our community.”

The Real Deal for Geelong coalition – some of its members are seen at the village site in Armstrong Creek – are pushing for social and affordable housing to be built here as a priority.


Real Deal organising committee member Noreen Nicholson, of St Bernard’s Church Belmont, said it was vital the public land in Armstrong Creek, located next to the Waurn Ponds railway station, was used to benefit those who were in desperate need of social and affordable housing.

“There is an enormous opportunity for this site to showcase best practice housing for the common good of our community and to help make a significant impact on the lives of many community members.”

Real Deal for Geelong members have been investigating innovative housing solutions used locally, nationally and internationally that meet social, economic and environmental sustainability goals.

Real Deal for Geelong project officer Sally Fisher said communities needed to be at the heart of the process, from start to finish, to build a successful community.

“We are keen to work with MPs about this site and look forward to progressing this work so we can deliver a win-win for the community and the government.”

The Victorian government has started consultations about the $2 billion housing, tourism and sporting infrastructure package for regional Victoria in the wake of the Games’ cancellation.

South Barwon MP Darren Cheeseman has previously said his government “will deliver on the promised sporting facilities and housing for the South Barwon electorate and Geelong region”.

Inspired by the international Green New Deal concept, the Real Deal project is co-ordinated nationally by the Sydney Policy Lab and began in 2019, with Geelong joining in November 2020.

The national and place-based coalitions define their mission as forging a new community-led relationship between market, state and civil society that works for people and the environment.

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