Doorstop interview in Melbourne


TOPICS: New funding for social and affordable housing in Melbourne, Housing Australia Future Fund

JULIE COLLINS, MINISTER FOR HOUSING, MINISTER FOR HOMELESSNESS: Good morning, everyone. Can I thank Aunty Carolyn for that wonderful, warm welcome to country. And I acknowledge her respect for this land and offer my own. And of course it's terrific to be part of a federal government that is committed to implementing the Uluru statement from the heart in full, starting with a voice to the Federal Parliament. It's terrific to be here. It's terrific to be here with State Minister Colin Brooks. It's terrific to be here with the local member Josh Burns, the local Federal Member, and also the local Upper House Member Ryan Batchelor. But importantly, to talk to Housing First and to what will be local residents in this building.

What you see here today is an incredible partnership, a partnership between community housing providers between the two tiers of government, federal and state and also our Local Mayor and the local government. Three tiers of government working together with community housing providers to deliver social and affordable housing for more Australians. This is an example of what we want to do more of as the Federal Government. What you have in us, the Albanese Labor Government, is the first federal government in more than a decade willing to step up to the plate.

We unlocked up to $575 million last year. This partnership today has some grants and some concessional loans from the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation, that we hope will soon become Housing Australia in coming weeks and months. This type of partnership with other tiers of government and with community housing providers is what we need more of to make sure we have more affordable homes for those Australians that need it most. This particular project is 46 apartments, including one, two and three bedroom apartments for families on the Victorian Housing Register. In Brighton East, we're talking about converting an existing 69 apartments into 152 self-contained apartments. And in St Kilda, there's a redevelopment into 36 self contained apartments.

These are people who are in need of housing today that will be housed because of this partnership. With our Housing Australia Future Fund Bill which is currently in the federal parliament, it's passed the lower house in February and is on its way and in the Senate today, we will have the single biggest investment in social and affordable housing in more than a decade from a federal government. We're talking about $10 billion that will be there with returns in perpetuity to invest in social and affordable housing each and every year. Now we understand of course, that housing affordability is a real challenge here in Victoria, but right across the country. And that is why we need tiers of government working together with the community housing sector and importantly, with others - with the construction sector with institutional investment.

It is only by having all of us working together and heading in the same direction that we will make more Australians have a safe, affordable place to call home. That is the only way we're going to make a dent in the housing affordability challenges in Australia today is if we are all working together. That is what we're attempting to do. We've already had three meetings with Housing Ministers, and the former government they hadn't had one in almost five years. In the entire time of the last National Housing Agreement, the governments did not meet. We are getting on with the job.

As I said, we've released that $575 million straightaway, we had the bill in the federal parliament for the Housing Australia Future Fund. We also of course have in the federal parliament, the Supply and Affordability Council legislation, to have independent advice, and provide advice to governments about what we can do to get more houses on the ground sooner and to make sure that the right houses are in the right places. So we're doing that and also, of course, the National Housing Finance Investment Corporation turning it into Housing Australia, widening what it does, so that we can see a lot more of these types of partnerships. It's wonderful to be here in Victoria today to be part of this partnership with a Victorian State Government. And I call on Minister Brooks to say a few words.

COLIN BROOKS, VICTORIAN MINISTER FOR HOUSING: Thank you very much to Julie, the Federal Minister, it's great to have you here in Victoria again, and the interest you're showing in housing projects here in this great state. I acknowledge Josh Burns, the Federal Member locally, and Ryan Bachelor, the Upper House member at the state level. Two Councillors that are here from the City of Port Phillip and Heather Cunsolo, the Mayor. Thank you for the wonderful contribution that Port Phillip has made to this particular development to Haleh Homaei, I hope I've got that pronunciation right. Nathan dal Bon from NHFIC and Ben Rimmer. Home Vic, who's been such a driving force behind many of these developments as well just wanted to acknowledge him.

This is a great announcement today, as the Minister has mentioned. 200 social and affordable homes across three sites and this wonderful home here. I think it really hits home when you walk through here and we met a couple of the residents inside and you get to understand the value of this sort of social housing for those residents. So important and this site I understand has had a long history of struggle to get to the development stage it’s at now. I want to pay tribute to Martin Foley, the former Housing Minister who's here in his jeans and T shirt looking about 20 years younger without the stresses of ministerial life but he's played a key role in not just this this sort of development here but right across the state and in making sure that our state Victoria pushes ahead with a Big Housing Build.

So the biggest investment in social and affordable housing of any state or territory and the biggest in our state's history. $5.3 billion to develop over 12,000 new social and affordable homes to Victorians who need them. Quarter of that investment is in regional Victoria, 10% for Aboriginal Victorians and there are a number of delivery channels that mean that we are addressing, as best we can, vulnerable cohorts of people who need to access housing people fleeing family violence, young Victorians. We recently announced a $50 million package for youth housing and we know there's a lot more to be done. But this is a really big programme, a busy programme.

Just want to finish by saying we are so pleased to be investing in this development and the three that I've mentioned, with the federal government with Housing First. But as the Minister said, we've now got a federal government that wants to partner with states and other agencies with the community housing sector to deliver more social housing. As the Minister said, there's a Bill in the Senate and we really need other parties in the Senate to deliver that Bill. We can have people squabble about how much and should they be more or less, but pass the Bill in the Senate so we can get more social and affordable housing out the door here in Victoria as quickly as possible.