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Revenue and savings
The 2019-20 Budget delivers on the Andrews Government’s election commitment to build 1,000 new public housing properties to provide homes for around 1,800 Victorians. It also provides funding to continue the Private Rental Access Program. The program is a lifeline to many Victorians experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their home. However, a two-year commitment is not enough. Ongoing funding is needed to provide secure homes for people who would otherwise struggle to pay the rent.
The Budget continues the roll-out of the gas heater servicing and replacement scheme in public housing and matches Commonwealth funding under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement. The Budget also delivers homelessness grants for LGBTIQ Victorians and access to refuges and crisis accommodation for people experiencing family violence.
Over the coming years, Victoria must continue to invest in the construction of more social housing. We need 3,000 new properties each year for the next 10 years just to house those on the priority waitlist, including people experiencing homelessness, escaping family violence, or with significant support needs.
Building new homes to fight homelessness
Funding will deliver 160 dwellings in 2019-20 of the total 1,000 new homes that the Victorian Government promised to fight homelessness. The initiative will provide homes for around 1,800 Victorians, with a focus on meeting the shortfall of one- and two-bedroom properties as a priority.
Cost: $33.5m in 2019/20 ($209.1m/4 years)
Sacred Heart Mission welcomes the Victorian Government’s commitment to extend successful homelessness programs and to build 1,000 new units of public housing by 2022. However, we share the concerns of @CHPVic. Read our full response here: https://t.co/LEgnmKtKA2 pic.twitter.com/VdAYhdUyfX
— Sacred Heart Mission (@ScdHrtMission) May 28, 2019
Responding to homelessness
Funding will be provided to continue to deliver homelessness services, including after-hours support for people in housing crisis, on-site treatment services in three crisis support accommodation services, and help for people at risk of homelessness to access private rental housing. Funding is also provided to continue supporting 40 young people who live at the Kangan Education Youth Foyer to achieve their educational and life goals.
Cost: $25.2m in 2019/20 ($50.4m/2 years)
Supporting Victoria’s LGBTIQ communities—grants program for homelessness service providers
The ‘Supporting Victoria’s LBGTIQ communities initiative’ ($4.4 million in 2019–20, $6.3 million over four years) includes an allocation for a grants program for homelessness service providers to ensure young LGBTIQ Victorians can access safe and inclusive services across the entire homelessness sector.
Of the $6.3 million, $3 million is for the homelessness sector grants program. The remaining funds are for extended mental health support and family counselling, and increased support for victims of conversion therapy.
Cost: $3m/4 years
Building Better Homes*
Apartment standards will be further strengthened to ensure new apartments are safe, liveable and designed to be integrated within local communities.
Cost: $2.5m in 2019/20 ($4.6m/3 years)
Social Housing Pipeline Projects
This is the first tranche of funding for the Social Housing Pipeline Project. A total of $60 million has been announced to increase the number of social housing properties on vacant or under-used land owned by the Director of Housing. The first 52 vacant parcels of land have been identified to enable almost 100 homes to be built.
Cost: $9.4m in 2019/20 ($14.7m/2 years)
National Housing and Homelessness Agreement
The Victorian Government will match the Commonwealth’s contribution to funding homelessness services under the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA). The NHHA provides funding to support vulnerable people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including people exiting institutional care, veterans, people who have experienced family violence and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Cost: $24.7m in 2019/20 ($103.5m/4 years)
Gas heater servicing and replacement scheme*
Funding will be provided to commence an enhanced gas heater servicing program and a gas heater replacement program within public housing properties. $21.9 million was spent on gas heater servicing and replacement in 2018–19.
Cost: $8.9m in 2019/20 ($30.8m/2 years)
Family violence refuge and crisis case management response*
Case management for family violence victim survivors will continue, with support expanded to provide 24/7 access to women’s refuges, additional places in redeveloped refuges and support for victim survivors in emergency accommodation. Funding will also be provided to install CCTV cameras in the Centre Against Violence women’s refuge in Victoria’s north east. The Government will also fund family violence specialist counselling in Wodonga and Wangaratta, and family violence counselling services and an upgrade of crisis accommodation in Horsham.
Cost: $6.9m in 2019/20 ($24m/4 years)
A number of further strategies that were not included in the 2019/20 budget could bring significant benefits for Victorians facing disadvantage. VCOSS will be advocating for these initiatives over the coming year, in the lead-up to the 2020/21 Victorian Budget.
Build social housing on vacant government land
Melbourne has nearly 200 hectares of vacant government-owned land that can accommodate 30,000 homes. Using this for social housing will reduce development costs and help keep people in their local communities, close to jobs, services and social connections.
Mandate inclusionary zoning
We can also leverage private construction. ‘Inclusionary zoning’ requires developers to deliver a proportion of social housing among new apartments. Private developers build around 30,000 apartments in Victoria every year. Requiring a percentage for social housing would generate thousands of new homes, helping to rapidly achieve our targets.
Make public housing energy efficient, comfortable and healthy
To ensure some of Victoria’s most vulnerable people can afford to be comfortable in summer and winter, Victoria needs energy-efficient public housing buildings with efficient appliances. Victoria could create healthier homes by expanding upgrades under the EnergySmart Public Housing Project beyond the current 1,500 homes, and giving public housing tenants access to solar power.
Stabilise revenue with a broad-based land tax*
Victoria’s reliance on stamp duties adds cost to home purchase, and risks sudden revenue falls, threatening service funding. We can develop a more stable, efficient and fair tax system by progressively replacing stamp duties with a broad-based land tax. A good land tax system needs appropriate concessions, exemptions and deferrals.
* Indicates the initiative is also included under other policy areas.