Much-needed reform of Victoria’s public housing sector is a step closer with the release today by Minister for Housing Wendy Lovell of two discussion papers.
The papers – Pathways to a Fair and Sustainable Social Housing System and Social Housing – Options to Improve the Supply of Quality Housing, which was prepared by KPMG – will guide a fresh approach to a system that is in crisis after more than a decade of Labor mismanagement.
These papers are now available at the Department of Human Services website, http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au
Their release marks the start of a three month consultation process. Details of the process are also available at http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au
“We know from several recent reports into social housing in Victoria that the system can’t go on in its current form,” Ms Lovell said.
“A 2012 report from the Victorian Auditor-General’s Office and an earlier Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry have shown that the provision of social housing is unsustainable, unfair and lacks a clear overarching direction.
“The Auditor-General stated that ‘the situation for public housing is critical’.
“The Auditor-General also noted that the gap between rental income and operating costs is increasing and found that without change, the future of public housing is at risk.
“Doing nothing, maintaining the status quo, is not an option if the community expects social housing to be provided into the future,” Ms Lovell said.
Following the Parliamentary Inquiry into public housing in September 2010, the Victorian Government announced that it would prepare a strategic framework for social housing.
The framework has the objective of ensuring public and community housing is both sustainable and fair, while also exploring the role of government and other sectors in the community, such as the not-for-profit sector.
It will also consider how to encourage tenants to participate more fully in the economic and social life of their communities and seek pathways to independence.
The framework will be guided by the consultation process with key stakeholders including tenants’ groups, community housing providers and individuals over the next three months.
“The Victorian Government is seeking feedback from the community to help reform the system, meet fundamental challenges and make social housing more sustainable and equitable in the future,” Ms Lovell said.
Submissions will be received until 5pm on Tuesday 31 July 2012 and can be lodged online, via email or mailed to the Victorian Department of Human Services.