The Minister for Commonwealth Games Legacy, Harriet Shing, has dodged questions from The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria, Melina Bath, about the long-term viability of housing at the Commonwealth Games village slated for Morwell.
During question time in Parliament today, Ms Bath asked the Minister to respond to rumours that the dwellings at the Games village – which are supposed to be used as affordable housing after 2026 – would be built without kitchens or garages.
In response, the Minister said the Andrews Government was “in the process of seeking expressions of interest from contractors and businesses” to deliver the Games village, which would be fit for “officials and athletes”.
“If it is indeed true that these units will not be equipped with the basic amenities of a kitchen or garage, then it is clear they won’t be fit for use swiftly at the end of the Commonwealth Games,” Ms Bath said.
“Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley is in the grips of an unprecedent housing crisis, and the wait times for affordable housing across Victoria have ballooned beyond belief in recent years. We need more housing, but if the Andrews Government cuts corners and doesn’t equip these new-builds with the basic necessities for daily living then it will fail the people of the Latrobe Valley yet again.
“When the former Minister for Commonwealth Games Legacy announced the village would be built in Morwell last year, he said the Andrews Government would ‘squeeze every bit of social impact’ out of the village.
“This week, Labor refused to guarantee kitchens and garages in the build. What sort of legacy is there for the Latrobe Valley in building houses without kitchens or garages?”
The Nationals Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron, said it was crucial the Andrews Government get the build of the Games village right the first time to ensure there is no time wasted in repurposing the dwellings for future use.
“I have spoken with residents on English Street where the Games village will be built, and they are right to be concerned about the lack of community consultation,” Mr Cameron said.
“It is incumbent on the Andrews Government to make sure community consultation is conducted in a way that actually takes into account the needs of locals and isn’t just conducted as a formality for a box that needs to be ticked.”
“What the Valley doesn’t need, is a development of square boxes, not fit for future use.”