The housing shortage in East Gippsland was a topic for discussion in State Parliament this week after it was raised by Nationals MP, Tim Bull.
Mr Bull sought immediate attention to be given to the current housing crisis in not only East Gippsland, but other areas of the state also and suggested the government explore the use of modular homes, similar to what was provided in the bushfire response, to address the current crisis.
“They are neat, self-contained and as we saw, can be quickly constructed. If this was able to be done for the bushfire crisis, I would hope the government could do it for this housing crisis.
“This would require government to work with local shires to identify sites and gain approvals. Yes, there will be things to work through, but it should be investigated,” he said.
Housing Minister, Richard Wynne, responded to Mr Bull by stating “the Member for Gippsland East and I have had many discussions in relation to the question of housing provision in his electorate and indeed on the issues of housing supply in regional Victoria more generally.”
“Modular housing, as he knows, was provided to his community in those fire-ravaged areas, and that has been a very successful program.
“We have piloted a number of projects, and I point particularly to one that we did in Ballarat Road in Footscray where we have put in place modular housing there for people who have been rough sleeping, and we will do more of this.
“We will be looking for opportunities to partner with local governments, because as the member knows, where you have a land component that is put in by another party, it just stretches the public dollars so much further.
“I appreciate the member’s ongoing interest and commitment to the provision of social and affordable housing in his area, and I will continue to work with him,” said Minister Wynne.
Earlier, in asking his question, Mr Bull said a ‘perfect storm’ had occurred in his electorate that was putting pressure on rental markets and housing supply.
“I have chats with many locals seeking housing and also several real estate agents and contributing factors I have been advised of include:
- The real estate market has risen rapidly with homes of all styles selling for peak prices and many who owned rental properties have decided to cash in.
- New laws that require rental properties to be upgraded to new standards has resulted in landlords choosing to sell rather than having to spend the funds
- Locally, people who lost their homes in bushfires remain in rental properties as they work through approvals to rebuild and then have to engage builders who are in short supply
- COVID has led to many people becoming accustomed to working remotely, so people are choosing to keep their metro properties but work remotely from country rentals. This also allows them to escape metro COVID lockdowns.
- Over COVID, tenants were given a rent exemption, and this placed some landlords under financial duress as they were relying on this income for their own needs, so they are now deciding to sell.
“All of these factors are contributing to a shortage of rental properties with many being booted from rentals and facing homelessness and unable to secure new rentals,” Mr Bull told Parliament.
Following the response from Minister Wynne, Mr Bull said he would now be contacting East Gippsland and Wellington Shires to encourage further discussions with the Department of Housing on identifying land to progress the options for emergency public housing being secured for the region.
Monday, 28 June 2021