The Victorian Government has announced that the 2020-21 Victorian Budget will deliver a historic $5.3 billion Big Housing Build to construct more than 12,000 new homes throughout metro and regional Victoria, as well as supporting around 10,000 jobs, per year over the next four years, to supercharge Victoria’s economic recovery through the pandemic and beyond.
The package is forecast to boost the state’s social housing supply by 10 per cent in just four years.
The investment will deliver 9,300 new social housing homes – including replacing 1,100 old public housing units. This will help more Aboriginal Victorians, pensioners, Victorians with disability, family violence victims and single-parent families find their feet.
Of these new homes, 2,000 will be for Victorians living with mental illness.
A further 2,900 new affordable and low-cost homes will be built to help low-to-moderate income earners live closer to where they work and provide options for private rental.
The program will deliver secure, modern, and affordable homes throughout Victoria – with 25 per cent of funding to be allocated to regional Victoria.
Additionally, the new homes will meet 7-star energy efficiency standards, making them more comfortable during summer and winter, and saving tenants on their power bills.
The unprecedented investment will boost Victoria’s economic recovery, expected to generate an estimated $6.7 billion in economic activity and support a peak of more than 18,000 jobs – with 10 per cent of the work on major projects to be done by apprentices, cadets and trainees.
Hundreds of new jobs will be created for women, Aboriginal Victorians, people with disability, social housing tenants and people from diverse backgrounds through social procurement targets.
A new Government agency, Homes Victoria, has been established to work across government, industry and the social housing sector to deliver this record housing growth and to manage existing public housing.
Combined with new housing from existing investments such as the Public Housing Renewal Program and Social Housing Growth Fund, construction of more than 15,800 new homes will begin over the next four years.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the $5.3 billion investment will change lives – giving thousands of Victorians the security and stability of a home, and tens of thousands of Victorians a job.
“It’s a profound investment in a stronger, fairer Victoria – a Victoria that recognises everyone deserves a place to call home,” he said.
Industry welcomes the news
The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) welcomed the notable investment in social housing, stating that it will have an enduring and transformative impact for generations.
Institute CEO Julia Cambage said more investment in sustainable social and affordable housing had long been one the Institute’s top advocacy priorities.
“The monumental injection of some 12,000 new social housing homes is laudable not only for its sheer scale but also for the depth and breadth of the housing diversity and inclusion it promotes,” Ms Cambage said.
“The Andrews Government is putting sustainability front and centre with a commitment to seven-star energy efficiency standards, which is critically important to meet our goal of transforming the built environment to net zero emissions by 2030.”
“This recognises the need for urgent action on climate and the challenges we all face in trying to build a – sustainable future,” she said.
Ms Cambage noted that in making this unparalleled $5.3 billion investment the State Government is both strengthening the Victorian economy and society by tackling, head-on, the issue of homelessness.
“It will deliver widespread economic stimulus while also helping rectify what has been a crippling shortage of affordable housing,” she said.
“Housing is a basic human need and universal human right and the Andrews Government is stepping up to ensure that more Victorians will have better housing security.”
“Importantly, the Andrews Government is also leveraging this investment to deliver stimulus in the regions, for key workers and those needing specialist disability accommodation.”
Ms Cambage also commented that the program will open up a pipeline of work that is desperately needed to facilitate a stronger recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19.
“A survey of our members we undertook in June this year revealed that nationally almost two-thirds (64.87 per cent) of respondents – had projects stalled as a direct result of COVID-19,” she detailed.
“Architects are the canary in the coal mine for the construction sector, a drop-off in design work inevitably heralds flow-on effects for numerous other trades and professions along the building chain.”
“We congratulate the Andrews Government on their leadership and look forward to working with Minister Wynne and Homes Victoria about other key design aspects that will ensure Victoria’s 12,000 new social housing homes are among the best in the world.”
Findings from the Institute’s survey of members measuring the impact of COVID-19 is available here.