Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Delivering essential Social Housing for Victoria

The Gillard Government has exceeded its target of delivering more affordable rental homes for vulnerable Australians under its Social Housing Initiative (SHI) with 17,800 homes now available across the country – 340 more than originally promised, and with more on the way.

The Government’s original target was to deliver 17,460 homes by the end of this year. The Government now expects around 19,700 homes to be completed by the end of 2012.

“The Gillard Government understands that a shortage of affordable housing is adding to cost of living pressures for many Australians,” Mr O’Connor said.

“That’s why Labor has put in place a package of measures to help people make ends meet and spread the benefits of the mining boom, and it’s why we have invested $20 billion in housing and homelessness programs – to keep families and working Australians in homes.

“The $5.6 billion Social Housing Initiative is the largest investment in social housing to date by the Australian Government, and is nearing completion.

“Many vulnerable Victorians are now benefiting from the program, with 4,050 new homes already built.

“We now expect around 19,700 dwellings will be delivered by the end of 2012, which will bring the total number of dwellings in Victoria to more than 4,600 homes from the Government’s $1.266 billion investment.

“As a result of the great work being carried out across Australia, many disadvantaged people who were homeless or at risk of homelessness now have homes.

“Another major component of this Initiative has been the work carried out to repair and maintain more than 80,000 existing social housing properties, 12,000 which would otherwise not be liveable.”

In Victoria, more than 9,300 homes have had vital repairs and maintenance carried out.

“Through the Social Housing Initiative nearly 16,000 tenants have been housed so far, including more than 8,700 people who were homeless or at risk of homelessness who now have a place to call home,” Mr O’Connor said.

“I would like to thank, the building industry, community members and state and territory governments for their work through the Social Housing Initiative.

“Through this work, families are now able to enjoy these homes.

“We know that Australia is in the midst of a housing shortage and we will continue to work tirelessly to provide affordable housing for the Australian community.”