Mary-Faeth Chenery

Rob Pradolin, Founder of Housing All Australians, will be one of two keynote speakers at the upcoming Safe Place Community Forum.

The Forum will be held on Sunday 26th June from 2-4 pm in the Senior Citizens Room at the Daylesford Town Hall.

Rob has spent 35 years of his life in the residential property development field, the last 18 years with Frasers Property Australia (formerly Australand). Since leaving Frasers, Robert founded Housing All Australians to represent the voice of the private sector. HAA believes it is in Australia’s long term economic interest to house all Australians, rich or poor.

I heard Rob speak at a conference in Melbourne on homelessness and knew he had a lot to offer our community. With the aid of his connections in the private building and development sector, he has created a range of ways to assist in the provision of housing for those in need. For example, in the development field in major cities, a development firm will often purchase a building but won’t be ready to develop it for possibly 10 years due to all the challenges of planning and financing major projects. Rob thought, “Why should that building stay empty during that time when it could house people?” The concept then became: lease the building for a small rent for a period of years; bring in private sector workers as volunteers to create units within the building; engage a community housing provider to secure tenants and provide needed social services and affordable rents. The result is small homes for people in need for a number of years.

As Rob has written:

As a society we have to face the facts – there is a current chronic failure that results in people being out in the cold, being vulnerable and isolated. The reality is, when an individual faces challenges in their life, that tests their purpose of being. Without a safe place to gather your thoughts and without people around you that care about your wellbeing, those dreams and possibilities have nowhere to go. You become lonely and isolated. Without a stable and safe place to call home, how can an individual form a productive life? How can they work, study or raise a family properly? To continually fund the services needed becomes a very expensive burden for society as a whole. People need to be housed. Whether they are rich or poor.

Rob’s research shows that housing people is a good investment: For every dollar spent on housing people, there is a multiplier effect on the economy as it means less money is spent on managing the consequences of homelessness, and more revenue is generated by the increase in workforce participation. Analysis by SGS Economics indicates providing public, social and affordable housing in the right locations offers communities a cost-benefit ratio of 7:1.
What other kind of investment offers a seven-fold return in this era of record-low interest rates?

The Safe Place Community Forum is designed to engage local community members in finding practical solutions to the great need for more social and affordable housing in our Shire. ‘It takes a Village’ to address such an important and knotty problem. Please join us to contribute your thoughts and learn from our speakers.

For further information, contact Mary-Faeth Chenery, or 0428 481 754.


Mary-Faeth Chenery, PhD, is a Daylesford resident and the Vice-president of Safe Place Housing Inc.