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2015-16 State Budget Snapshot: Tackle the housing crisis

Tackle the housing crisis

The 2015-16 Victorian State Budget contains some initiatives aimed at helping people overcome housing stress and homelessness, but leaves considerable room for more to be done over future budgets to tackle this rapidly growing crisis.

Many people across Victoria are experiencing housing stress, with rising rates of homelessness, a lack of growth in social housing, and an increasingly unaffordable private rental market. With the Treasurer Tim Pallas stating in his post-budget speech that he wishes to put housing affordability on the agenda in the future, VCOSS looks forward to working with the state government to develop a whole-of-government affordable housing strategy that aligns policies, maximises the supply of affordable housing and ensures those who need affordable housing can access it.

“We are aware the state government understands the enormity of the affordable housing problem in Victoria, and we look forward to working with them on this issue in the future,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.

Initiatives at a glance

  • $40.3m over four years to continue to fund Homelessness Innovation Action Projects –including continued funding for seven services trialling new approaches to preventing and ending homelessness.
  • $800,000 over four years to upgrade the Gatwick Hotel – to improve the standard of accommodation for residents.
  • Scheduled acquisition/redevelopment of 56 public housing properties – funded from within the Commissioner of Housing’s asset portfolio.

Future policy directions

  • VCOSS looks forward to continuing to work with the government towards the establishment of a common housing register, as a good first step to improving access to social housing, enabling people to register their housing need centrally, without having to separately contact multiple housing providers.
  • While the budget contains some housing initiatives, the Treasurer Tim Pallas has indicated he wishes to put housing affordability on the agenda in the future. VCOSS looks forward to working with the housing community sector and the state government to develop a whole-of-government affordable housing strategy.
  • VCOSS along with six other housing and homelessness peak bodies released Making Social Housing Work in 2014. This paper is a reform agenda for social housing in Victoria. VCOSS looks forward to working with the government to develop an affordable housing strategy that includes increasing the number of social housing properties available across the state.
  • VCOSS looks forward to working with the housing sector and the government with a view to further investment being made in a rapid re-housing program and long-term supportive housing, as part of an affordable housing strategy that aims to end homelessness in Victoria.
  • The ALP 2014 Victorian state election platform outlines an intention for a broad-based review of private rental laws. VCOSS looks forward to working with the government on strengthening the private rental laws and to increase security of tenure, reduce the number of wrongful evictions and improve living standards in private rental properties.
  • The ALP has also promised important initiative in trialling inclusionary zoning and introducing laws to require new housing to have basic accessibility requirements. VCOSS is anticipating future discussion with the State Government on developing these proposals.

VCOSS Victorian State Budget 2015-16: Snapshot analysis