New data shows Labor failing public housing

It’s official. Under Daniel Andrews, Victoria has fewer public housing dwellings, the expenditure per person has been cut, and Victorians are waiting longer to get into vacant properties.

Victorians in regional areas are suffering the most, with those in Wodonga, Benalla/Wangaratta, Ballarat and Shepparton waiting the longest for access to public housing.

Data released today in the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services shows that:

  • recurrent expenditure per person on social housing has been cut 6.1% in Victoria to just $92.02

  • The number of public housing dwellings has decreased from 64,471 under the Liberal Nationals Government to 64,428 in June 2019

  • Turnaround time for vacant housing in Victoria has blown out to 29.3 days, the highest waiting period recorded in five years.

The Productivity Commission’s report comes as recent Public Housing waiting lists released by the Department of Health and Human Services show yet another increase in Victorians on the priority access public housing waiting list.

There are now 23,373 people on the priority access waiting list, a record number of Victorians, up 18.4% in the past year and up 134.9% since September 2015.

We already know that the Andrews Labor Government was secretly changing the lifespan of public housing buildings to extend their end of life from 60 years to 85 years.

A number of high-rise public housing buildings in Victoria were built in the 1960s, so over the next decade, the buildings would be coming to their end of life, the impact on public housing properties, waiting lists, tenants would be enormous.

The Andrews Labor Government just changed the date, hidden deep in the annual DHHS report.

Victoria’s supply of public housing has not kept pace with population growth over the last twenty years. Since 1998, Victoria’s population has increased by 1.46 million people, but the number of public housing properties owned by the Director of Housing has only increased by 89.

Data from the Department of Health and Human Services states that in 2016-17 alone, 123 new public housing properties were constructed and 106 were sold off – meaning only a net gain of 17 new public housing properties in a year.

It is an even grimmer picture for people experiencing homelessness requiring services other than accommodation. The proportion with unmet need has increased from 2.9% in 2014-15 to 10.9% in 2017-18.

The Andrews Labor Government failed to invest in public housing, and now vulnerable Victorians are paying the price.

Tim Smith MP

Shadow Minister for Housing

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