Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

New housing opens in Atherton Gardens

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor today officially opened 152 apartments in Fitzroy, built with a $43.3 million investment from the Gillard Government’s Housing Affordability Fund.

Mr O’Connor said the new apartments are a significant step forward in the redevelopment of Fitzroy.

“This is the first major development on the Atherton Gardens estate for 25 years,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The Government’s investment has delivered 152 brand new one and two-bedroom apartments for people on low incomes, in a prime inner city location, close to transport, services and shops.

“They are modern and high quality, designed by multi award winning architects McCabe and Bird dela Coeur, with private balconies, laundry facilities and a roof top garden.

“They also have water efficient fittings, rainwater collection and re-use facilities, thermal glazed windows, hydronic heating, solar hot water units and storm water retention to help keep household bills down.

“All of the apartments can accommodate visitors in a wheelchair and 20 per cent of the homes specifically cater for people with disability.

“But this is more than just creating quality housing. A community hub on the ground floor, which shared in $5.5 million from a consortium of non government organisations and local, state and federal governments, will offer a whole raft of services for children and families, including an early learning and childcare centre, family support services and maternal and child health services.

“Residents are also supported by a dedicated team of workers who help manage any issues they face, and help connect them with local support services.”

The Atherton Gardens project is part of the Gillard Government’s $175.3 million Housing Affordability Fund project across Richmond, Prahran and Fitzroy.

This investment is delivering nearly 550 affordable new homes in inner Melbourne, with a mix of social, affordable rental and private housing.

“Our investment also includes long-term master planning for the development of the three sites into the future, with the intention of building a further 7,300 new homes by 2028, including more than 1,800 in Fitzroy alone by 2022,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The renewal plan is a collaboration with residents, councils, communities, designers, urban planners and social planners.

“This is not just providing homes – it is also improving facilities and surroundings at the estates and better integrate them with surrounding neighbourhoods.

“This Government will continue to work to provide affordable housing for Australia’s most vulnerable people.

“We have invested an unprecedented $20 billion in housing and homelessness services and programs since coming to office.

“In fact we have made a direct financial contribution to one in every 20 homes built around the nation since 2008 through the Social Housing Initiative, the National Rental Affordability Scheme, the Housing Affordability Fund and the Building Better Regional Cities program.

“Through the Housing Affordability Fund we are investing more than $400 million to make housing more affordable so more families and individuals can afford to buy a home.

“The fund provides grants to state, territory and local governments to work with the private sector to reduce housing-related infrastructure and planning costs, and to pass savings onto new home purchasers.

“We have funded 71 projects across the country, 23 reform projects and 48 infrastructure projects.”