Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Father Bob finds new home in South Melbourne

Joint Media Release with:

  • Michael Danby, Member for Melbourne Ports

Retired priest and well-known local resident Father Bob Maguire has found a new home next door to his beloved Sts Peter and Paul Church in South Melbourne.

Father Bob and his elderly poodle Franklin are among the first tenants in a new housing development in Bank St, built with $11.9 million from the Gillard Government’s Social Housing Initiative.

Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor and Member for Melbourne Ports Michael Danby, along with Victorian Housing Minister Wendy Lovell, today welcomed tenants to their new homes.

“Staying in the local area is important to help people stay in contact with friends, family and their local community,” Mr O’Connor said.

“This development is providing 40 new one-bedroom apartments for mainly single men and women on low incomes who have been living in local bedsits or rooming houses for three years or more.

“It is giving them the security of a stable home that is close to public transport, and the historic South Melbourne Commons building with a café, event space, organic grocer, recreation space and children’s area.”

Designed by award-winning architects Design Inc, the apartments feature full-sized kitchens with four-burner induction cook tops and stainless steel ovens, ceiling fans, a balcony or courtyard, lift access and secure keyless entry.

“To help build the community feeling, this development has landscaped gardens and a large roof-top garden area with a barbecue, and I’m sure Father Bob and Franklin will help lead the community,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The apartments are fully furnished and have energy ratings of between 6 and 7.5 stars to help keep household bills down.

“Finding an affordable and safe place to live not only gives you peace of mind, it also lets you stay in touch with your local community.”

The development is funded through federal Labor’s Social Housing Initiative, which is designed to assist low income Australians who are homeless or struggling in the private rental market.

“The $5.6 billion investment Social Housing Initiative is the single largest investment in social housing ever undertaken by an Australian Government,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Under the Social Housing Initiative, we are building almost 20,000 homes across the nation, with more than 19,100 already completed.

“We know that many people are struggling to find affordable housing. That’s why we have invested $20 billion in housing and homelessness since coming to office. Indeed, the Government has made a direct financial contribution to one in every 20 homes built around the nation since 2008.

“This is in stark contrast to the decade of neglect under the Howard Government, which cut $3.1 billion from public housing.”

Mr Danby said the Government had made a significant investment in affordable housing across Melbourne Ports.

“The Government has invested more than $1.2 billion for more than 4,639 new homes in Victoria and more than $99.2 million for repairs and maintenance of more than 9,360 existing homes across the state,” Mr Danby said.

“This includes more than $43.4 million to deliver 224 new homes across Melbourne Ports and repairs to a further 588 homes.

“This new development will be an asset to the community and I thank the South Port Community Housing Group for its involvement and management of the facility.”