STATE Housing Minister Richard Wynne made particular mention of “Wonthaggi” in today’s announcement of a stunning $5.3 billion boost for public housing in Victoria.

From Wonthaggi to Portland and Wodonga, he said, the benefits of more than 25 per cent of this amount would flow into jobs and new 7-star public housing in regional areas.

Later today, in an exclusive statement for the Sentinel-Times, his office confirmed that “at least $25 million” of that funding had been earmarked for Bass Coast, acknowledged as an area of high need in regional Victoria.

The announcement has been warmly welcomed by Bass MP Jordan Crugnale, who said that while those living in emergency accommodation at the Miners Rest Motel and Caravan Park in Wonthaggi had been rehoused and supported since the facility was torn down, there was a pressing need for social housing in the area.

Ms Crugnale described the social housing package, especially as it benefits Bass Coast, Casey and Cardinia as “very profound”. See statement: https://sgst.com.au/2020/11/social-housing-for-bass-coast-casey-and-cardinia-says-crugnale-mp/.

The further release of affordable housing land in Wonthaggi’s North East expansion area will become even more pressing with this announcement with increased pressure now on the new Bass Coast Shire Council to deliver.

It’s set to be the centrepiece of the State Budget package released on November 24.

“This year we’ve been reminded just how important home really is,” said the Premier Daniel Andrews this morning, Sunday, November 15.

“It’s why we’ll make sure more Victorians have the security and stability of a home, with our state’s – and Australia’s – biggest ever investment in public and community housing.”

He said the Victorian Budget 2020/21 will deliver a historic $5.3 billion Big Housing Build to construct more than 12,000 new homes throughout metro and regional Victoria, as well as supporting around 10,000 jobs, per year over the next four years, to supercharge Victoria’s economic recovery through the pandemic and beyond.

This package will boost our state’s social housing supply by 10 per cent in just four years – providing a stable foundation for thousands of Victorians to build their lives.

The investment will deliver 9,300 new social housing homes – including replacing 1,100 old public housing units. This investment will help Aboriginal Victorians, pensioners, Victorians with disability, family violence victims and single parent families find their feet.

Of these new homes, 2,000 will be for Victorians living with mental illness, reflecting our commitment to mental health and fixing a broken system.

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.

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

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

Mr Andrews said contracts would be let for some of the work next month and promised that construction on 6000 houses will have started within 18 months.

The program will deliver secure, modern, and affordable homes throughout Victoria – with 25 per cent of funding to be allocated to regional Victoria.

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.

The unprecedented investment will boost Victoria’s economic recovery, generating 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 Government 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.

Combined with new housing from existing investments such as the Public Housing Renewal Program and Social Housing Growth Fund, construction of more than 15,800 new homes will begin over the next four years.

‘Much needed stimulus’ says HIA

The Housing Industry Associaiton (HIA) welcomed today’s announcement by the Victorian Government to make a record investment in social housing.

“The investment of $5.3 billion announced today will provide a much-needed stimulus over the next 5 years in the housing sector for Victoria,” said Fiona Nield, HIA Victorian Executive Director.

“It will also provide homes for many Victorians in need and an injection into the Victorian economy – particularly as the work is set to commence immediately.

“An infrastructure program of this scale is timely and highly appropriate and will provided a much-needed stimulus to the sector.

“It will bring forward projects and for many builders and their trades this will provide an opportunity going forward.

“HIA is pleased that the Government is investing in the residential building industry and this should see many thousands of trades provided with much needed work and stability particularly after such an uncertain few months during COVID.

“The Government has recognised the opportunity and is is encouraging to see their support for the building industry to play a key role in rebuilding the Victorian economy in the years ahead. We look forward to working closely with the Government as they roll out this program and engage with the housing industry to deliver these much-needed homes for Victorians.

“The emphasis on work in regional Victoria will also be welcome in rebuilding jobs in those areas and for those local communities,” concluded Ms Nield.