The Mirror News

Shire to lobby State for regional public housing funds

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council will lobby the State Government for funding from its Victoria’s Big Housing Build program announced in November 2020 to create more affordable public housing in both regional and metropolitan areas.

Homes Victoria’s Big Housing Build is a four-year program investing more than $5.3 billion in social, community and public housing across the State, with 25 per cent or $1.25 billion earmarked for construction in rural and regional Victoria.

The shire’s administration panel voted at the virtual open council meeting on Wednesday February 24, 2021, to prepare a housing strategy advocating for a share of the rural and regional allocation.

Some Victorian local government areas (LGAs) have already been guaranteed minimum funding investments from this regional money, however others, like South Gippsland Shire, still have the ability to develop a proposal for funding.

To be approved, the proposal or strategy must be developed in partnership with a social housing service.

Once developed and if successful in achieving Homes Victoria funding, shire officers believe the South Gippsland Housing Strategy would also “help support employment growth to build these new housing options.”

The panel also backed allocating $100,000 towards the strategy development “contingent on any current budget surplus in the 2020/ 21 budget and for consideration in the 2021/ 22 budget”.

The panel or the returned elected council will  “receive a future report at the completion of the South Gippsland Housing Strategy with future options and opportunities to secure funding under the Victorian Government’s $5.4 billion Big Housing Build program.” 

South Gippsland Shire Council administration panel member Christian Zahra AM said the Big Housing Build was “a very important worthwhile initiative for us to engage in” and that “any good strategy should rely upon a very strong basis of factual information.

“That’s going to be a key part of the strategy that will be developed as part of this initiative that we are endorsing,” he said.

“A good strategy will bring together all those different elements and the council, at a future date, will be able to consider that as part of the way in which it may elect to participate in what is a very large initiative that has been brought into place by the State Government.”


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