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Adjournment: Prahran Public Housing Upgrade

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) :  My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Housing, and the action I seek is for the minister to upgrade public housing estates in the Prahran electorate, of which there are several in South Yarra, Prahran, St Kilda and Windsor—all around the Prahran electorate, including building new public housing on those estates as well to fix homelessness and reduce the public housing waiting list. More and more people are facing homelessness, sleeping rough, fleeing family violence or living in unsafe and unsecure accommodation. The conditions of some people’s homes, and these are people’s homes, is just unacceptable.  

My office has had reports of bed bug infestations, pigeon infestations and pigeon crap covering the common windows and no air conditioning despite the incredible heat that is faced during summer. One tower in the Horace Petty Estate has only had a few floors upgraded, many years ago, while tenants have had to wait for empty promises that the rest would be fixed. Some of the houses need to be replaced with entirely new homes.

Victoria spends less on social housing than any other state. It is absolutely outrageous that a wealthy society like ours cannot afford to look after people in need. Victoria needs a big build. Thousands of public housing homes need to be built every year-far more than what the government has promised in this term. The government's sell-off plan, the public housing renewal program, has been designed to profit developers. It will actually reduce the capacity of our estates. Bangs Street estate in Prahran is now just sitting empty. The government shops it around to developers when they could be building new public housing on this estate now. I urge the government to upgrade estates in the Prahran electorate and build more public housing.

Answer:

The Andrews Government has provided record investment into social housing to help Victoria's most vulnerable through initiatives such as the 1,000 New Public Housing Properties, the Rough Sleepers Program, the Family Violence Housing Blitz, the $185 million Redevelopment Project and the $1 billion Social Housing Growth Fund, among others.

There are 44 high-rise towers in Melbourne serviced by an upgrade program by the Department of Health and Human Services. To date it has completed upgrades to 85 per cent of the towers.  This upgrade program is on-going and is managed carefully to ensure our residents are not displaced into temporary accommodation for longer than is necessary while the upgrades take place.

The upgrade program provides internal and external repairs, new kitchens and bathrooms, insulation and new windows to each apartment providing vast improvements to the quality of these homes.

Bangs Street is part of the $185 million redevelopment project that will replace existing public housing with new well-designed homes that better match the current social housing demand on the Victorian Housing Register. The existing Bangs Street estate has over 60 per cent of three-bedroom dwellings accommodating only one or two household members. State-wide almost a third of all three- and four-bedroom public housing units have two or more bedrooms that are unoccupied. We are redeveloping estates such as Bangs Street to make sure our public housing stock is aligned with the needs of those waiting for public housing. Private housing will also be constructed to create an integrated community and allow the government to attract investment from the private sector to fund some of the development.

The Andrews Government is committed to doing more to increase the quality and supply of public and affordable housing to help victims of family violence and keep people off the streets.  In addition to current programs, we will continue to explore new opportunities for new social housing across the State.

Hon Richard Wynne MP

Minister for Housing

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