Pandemic recovery: bold plans for social housing in Vic Budget

Media release 24 November 2020

On behalf of the state’s two million renters, Tenants Victoria commends the Andrews Government for responding decisively to systemic challenge around the supply of affordable homes in our state.

“More than words, the record $5.3 billion investment in housing announced in the 2020-21 Victorian Budget sends a strong signal that we are, indeed, ‘all in this together’,” said Tenants Victoria CEO Jennifer Beveridge.

“The coronavirus pandemic and the public health directive that we stay at home amid two intense lockdowns has reinforced the importance of our homes as our havens. Yet, for too many low-income Victorian renters, a safe, secure and affordable home has been elusive.

“This historic housing spend over four years will make a real difference for those renters who struggle to keep a roof over their heads and meet mounting daily bills.”

“As Treasurer Tim Pallas says, ‘2020 has been a cruel year’, and for renters who’ve lost jobs or hours it’s been especially brutal,” Ms Beveridge said.

“From our grassroots perspective, it’s heartening to see the social justice values underlying this Budget’s commitment to build 12,000 new houses over the next four years, including a massive commitment to build 9300 new social housing homes. Most of this will comprise community housing but it also includes replacing 1100 public housing units, which is particularly welcome.

“Tenants Victoria congratulates Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured above) and Minister for Housing Richard Wynne along with the Treasurer for their bold housing initiative, and urge the Commonwealth to take a similar path to recovery. We need to literally ‘build back better’ for the post-pandemic challenges ahead for our communities, our state and our nation.”

Ms Beveridge also noted other welcome commitments of direct benefit to renters in the State Budget, including:

  • $797 million household energy package, with a focus on low-income households, including renters
  • Funding for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to undertake digital transformation, including remote hearings and further investments in community legal services.
  • Consumer Affairs Minister Horne commended for recognising challenges ahead

    Tenants Victoria has warmly welcomed the Victorian Government’s moves earlier this year to continue to protect rental rights until the end of March 2021 which has seen 57,000 tenants and landlords so far register a reduced rent agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV).

    Ms Beveridge said: “It’s pleasing to see that $80 million was set aside in April 2020 to continue to provide support to keep tenants in their homes, and a further $6 million now to ensure CAV can continue to provide support through the Residential Tenancies Dispute Resolution Scheme and the Residential Tenancy Relief Scheme.

    “I commend the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Melissa Horne, for her foresight in acknowledging the very significant challenges that do remain ahead for renters in the new year, even as the public health scenario improves.”

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