Bass Coast Social (public) Housing Need

Melina BATH (Eastern Victoria) (22:02): (509) My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Housing, and the action I seek from the minister is to guarantee 370 social housing dwellings for the Bass Coast to meet the need as outlined by Housing Matters, which is an organisation auspiced by the Wonthaggi Neighbourhood Centre. We know that neighbourhood house people are close to the real world and close to a very important population. Beth Banks of Housing Matters speaks about the dire need for increased public housing in the Bass Coast for low-income earners, for single parents, for workers, for women over 55 and for women escaping a domestic violence situation. Housing Matters have forwarded a petition that they ran to the member for Bass, so the government should be well aware of this issue. Currently only 1 per cent of households on the Bass Coast are in public housing – 1 per cent; meanwhile rents have increased by a staggering 45 per cent, so both social housing and affordable homes are required in this fantastic region.

$25 million has been slated, if you believe the government media releases, for 30 new homes. Doing the maths on that one, that equates to $800,000 per home. I would have thought that there should be some economies of scale to produce better value than that $800,000 per home, but there is no detail on what these homes will be. Will they be public homes? What is the time frame for delivery? This is the key thing that my constituents certainly want. It is only spin unless we see bricks and mortar.

Housing Matters have also written an open letter to the former Minister for Housing outlining their valid concerns about the crisis. There is a crisis – rising rents are compounding the problem. Since 2018 across the Gippsland region there has been a 43 per cent increase in rents. Finding a private rental is almost impossible. It says – and these are ABS stats – that 34 per cent of Bass Coast renters are in rental stress. By comparison, roughly 26 per cent of all regional Victorians are under rental stress. People are couch surfing, sleeping rough and using the library to keep warm. Housing Matters is also trying to get a soup kitchen up with shower facilities as well to support those people doing it very tough. So again I ask the minister not only to produce these 374 social and public housing dwellings but to provide a time line so that the people of the Bass Coast can see when this will come to fruition.