Recent reporting has shown the Andrews Government is failing to manage social and public housing demand despite marketing a multibillion dollar ‘Big Housing Build.’
Data released through the Victorian Housing Register showed the social housing waitlist has increased by 45 per cent since 2018 and only 74 additional social housing dwellings had been developed in the last four years.
This week Nationals MPs placed housing on the agenda at Parliament, outlining issues facing the regional housing sector.
Speaking from Parliament, The Nationals Member for Northern Victoria, Gaelle Broad, outlined planning issues holding back housing supply.
“A pilot program to fast-track secondary dwellings was conducted by the department two years ago,” Ms Broad said.
“The City of Greater Bendigo provided feedback on the program to the department two years ago with the understanding that the results of the pilot would be analysed, but they are yet to receive feedback from the government, and no changes have been made to the planning scheme.”
The lack of housing supply continues to have a detrimental impact on regional economies.
“Across Northern Victoria people are being offered great jobs only to turn them down because they cannot find a place to live,” Ms Broad said.
“Rental prices in regional Victoria have skyrocketed. According to the Grattan Institute, vacancy rates are at record lows and rents have risen over 12.5 per cent in the past year.
“People are living in caravans, tents and cars because they cannot find a home they can afford.”
The Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has asked the Housing Minister for local data on public and social housing.
“I’ve asked the Minister to come back to me with some key data on how many dwellings have been built under the Big Build right across the Goulburn Valley, Bendigo and the North-East,” Ms Cleeland said.
“In addition, I’ve also requested the number of properties not in use due to maintenance.
“In Bendigo over 3000 people are on the social housing waitlist, and Seymour also has over 580 people in need of a home. It’s clear what’s happening isn’t working.”
Ms Cleeland said she was seeing firsthand the real world impact of the public housing shortage.
“I’ve been contacted by multiple distressed individuals who have been waiting incredibly long periods for a roof over their heads,” Ms Cleeland said.
“Negotiating the bureaucracy at an incredibly challenging time for people needing housing is proving to be very frustrating.
“The issues in regional housing in terms of affordability, rental markets and public housing are acute and more needs to be done.”