Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed at least 1300 social and affordable housing properties will be built in regional communities across the state.
Athlete villages in four regional hubs were a part of the budget for the 2026 Commonwealth Games. With the Games cancelled, the housing will be delivered in areas beyond the four hubs which were to be used for the event.
Council to Homeless Persons CEO Deborah Di Natale welcomed the social housing commitment.
“The Andrews Government has been clear about the social housing legacy it was intending to deliver from the Commonwealth Games,” Ms Di Natale said. “With the Games no longer going ahead, it was absolutely critical a commitment to build regional social housing remained on the table.
The increased cost of borrowing is creating significant mortgage stress for many families. The housing crisis across the state has been exacerbated by high rents in metropolitan and regional areas and low vacancy rates across the state.
“This is a state-wide crisis so it’s really important to see the new social housing commitment extend beyond the four regional hubs that would have hosted the Games,” said Ms Di Natale.
Building 1300 social and affordable housing properties in regional Victoria will have significant economic benefits and should contribute to easing the housing crisis.
The Council for Homeless Persons has called for an even greater government commitment to building at least 6000 public and community homes every year. “Ending homelessness and fixing the housing crisis hinges on a commitment of that magnitude,” said Ms Di Natale.
Safe Place Homes Inc, a community group advocating for affordable housing in Hepburn Shire, is calling on Hepburn Shire Council to begin to work now to ensure that some of the regional housing funds are directed to our Shire.
Mary-Faeth Chenery, president of Safe Place, said, ’”The urgent need for affordable housing exists in all communities. Now that this funding has been earmarked for regional homes, it should be distributed fairly to all Shires. Given that a key element of Hepburn Shire’s affordable housing strategy is advocacy on the part of Council, we urge Council officers lobby strongly for funding to help in the towns of our Shire.’
Council has moved quickly to ensure the best possible outcomes for the Shire. The Mayor and Shire CEO, Bradley Thomas met with the Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Harriet Shing, on Thursday. “We recognised that the $2.3 billion package which would have been directed to six local government areas involved in delivery of the Games was now open to the 39 regional councils. It was important that Hepburn Shire acted quickly to present our case,” said Cr Hood.
“Council is finalising our Affordable Housing Strategy and Action Plan and we welcomed the announcement of investment in housing for the Shire and across Victoria,” said Cr Hood. “The Minister was impressed by our Housing Strategy and the specific actions outlined in it. We are confident that funding will be provided in the Shire for affordable and social housing from the Regional Housing Fund.”