A leading community services provider says there’s an unprecedented opportunity to push the Mallee’s case as governments sharpen their focus on addressing structural housing issues and building new housing infrastructure.
With rental vacancy rates at an all-time low and cost of living pressures at an all-time high Mallee Accommodation and Support Program says conditions are as difficult as it has seen in its 30-year history.
But MASP CEO Vince Wilson said the strong interest at all levels of government on addressing housing issues was providing new opportunities to argue the Mallee’s case.
“Mildura Rural City Council has recently declared a ‘housing emergency’ and there are some really significant resources coming to the sector from the Commonwealth,” Mr Wilson said.
“The Victorian Government’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build includes a minimum investment commitment of $40 million for the Mildura Local Government Area and $15M for the Swan Hill Local Government Area which presents great local opportunities for us,” Mr Wilson said.
“We have the focus of all three levels of government on housing as a priority issue. There are certainly a lot of conversations to be had, and we are having them, about the challenges and the opportunities that are out there and how best we can secure some of those resources for the Mallee,” he said.
In the Victorian Government’s reshuffle at the weekend, the Member for Northern Metropolitan Sheena Watt was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Housing under new Victorian Housing Minister Danny Pearson.
“The Parliamentary Secretary for Housing is a new role, and it recognises the importance of safe, secure, and affordable housing in transforming lives – we’ll be working with both the Minister and Parliamentary Secretary to ensure that the understanding of regional Victoria is brought to the table,” Mr Wilson said.
Mr Wilson said MASP was also working with partner agencies and organisations to deliver the best outcomes possible for the region.
“We’ve never seen the housing market this pressured in the Mallee, and the challenges we are facing at the moment are impacting on every agency and community service organisation in the region, through the number of clients presenting and the sorts of issues that are coming through the door,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to working with our partner organisations and our government representatives to make the most of these opportunities to create real change in the Mallee.”
If you or anyone you know is experiencing homelessness, or at risk of homelessness contact MASP on 5021 6500 or Haven; Home, Safe 1300 428 364.
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