Peninsula Housing Crisis Continues

Legislative Assembly 7 June 2022

Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (12:53): Just under a month ago I raised the housing crisis that we have on the Mornington Peninsula.

At the time I made the point that we have the sixth-largest number of rough sleepers in the state and we have exceedingly low vacancy rates in terms of rental properties, and I highlighted not only the lack of action but the lack of even a commentary from the government on the issue.

I made the point that we need to utilise our housing assets far more effectively than we do now.

So I was interested to read an article in the Mornington News on 31 May.

They were talking about recently released data from CoreLogic on rental increases by postcode. Seven of the top eight postcodes—so, seven of the eight highest rental increases—were on the Mornington Peninsula, seven of eight.

We have got families being forced to sleep in cars, sleeping in tents on the foreshore—when it is 6, 7, 8 degrees in the morning they are in a tent on the foreshore. The council has had to open up camping areas that would normally be closed.

Also in the same article there was some commentary around the number of government properties that are empty, that are not available for these people. And just to cap it off, the number of new dwellings to be constructed under the Big Build is 26.

Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula have 2544 families on the waiting list, so the Big Build is one dwelling for every 98 families.

Public Housing – Well located Slums are still Slums

Legislative Assembly 12 May 2022

Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (10:07): We have a housing crisis on the Mornington Peninsula.

We have the sixth-largest number of rough sleepers in the state. We have low—in fact extremely low—vacancy rates in terms of rental properties. We have a genuine crisis.

I thought it might have been instructive to see what the government, particularly the member for Nepean, has been saying about housing, so I searched Hansard.

The member for Nepean has mentioned housing on the Mornington Peninsula once, on 9 September 2021. He asked the Minister for Housing to provide an update to his community about:

… how the Victorian government’s announcement on funding to provide housing support and targeted initiatives to address homelessness in—

the budget—

… will help to reduce homelessness on the Mornington Peninsula.

What was the response? None—absolutely none.

A government member asked in an adjournment for a response from the Minister for Housing and he has had nothing at all. I guess it is hard to talk about what you are doing when you are not actually doing anything.

My own electorate has a number of locations where public housing is literally falling apart—literally collapsing. It is prime real estate, but if you are not going to invest in public housing on the Mornington Peninsula, how about you utilise the assets better? Surely we can use them more effectively.

The sites are great, the buildings are not. Well-located slums are still slums.

There is a real opportunity here to take action and make improvements that will make a real difference to people’s lives. I challenge the minister, who it is great to see at the table, to really get on and do something.

It’s Homelessness Week – Why is the Minister hiding the waiting lists?

The number of disadvantaged Victorians on Labor’s social housing waitlist is at record levels and growing but is being kept hidden.

Social housing is a key factor in the fight against homelessness, but five weeks after the end of the financial year Housing Minister Richard Wynne is yet to release the social housing waiting list data for the June Quarter.

The number of Victorian applicants on the social housing waiting list has soared since Labor came to power, jumping from a total of just 34,618 in September 2014 to almost 51,000 in the March 2021 quarter, a 47 per cent blowout.

For applicants classified as “priority” the situation is dire. In September 2014, 9,990 priority applicants were on the waiting list, in March this year the numbers had almost tripled to 27,500.

Daniel Andrews has no plan to tackle Victoria’s worsening public housing crisis or provide meaningful support for the tens of thousands of Victorians struggling with homelessness.

This week is National Homelessness Week, intended to raise awareness of homelessness and the importance of social housing as part of a serious solution. The 2016 census estimated that almost 25,000 Victorians were homeless.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Housing, David Morris:

“The delay in the release of the housing waiting lists makes me wonder just how bad the news is going to be when the Minister finally releases the data.

“Despite their rhetoric, Richard Wynne and Daniel Andrews are guilty of having no plan for those Victorians struggling with homelessness. Instead of wasted billions on metro project cost blow outs and to polish his own public image with secret taxpayer-funded focus groups, Labor needs a plan to focus on delivering real support for Victorians.

“Daniel Andrews is keeping Victorians in the dark on the true state of the waiting list, and must commit to releasing the figures no more than three weeks after the end of the quarter.”

Time to take action on 335 Main Street

Mr MORRIS (Mornington) (17:18): (5855) I raise a matter for the Minister for Housing, and it relates to the public housing property at 335 Main Street, Mornington.

The action I am seeking from the minister is that he takes action to ensure that particularly the external area of the premises is cleaned up, that the necessary repairs to broken fences and so on are undertaken and that a plan is put in place to ensure that future regular maintenance occurs on this site.

This has been an ongoing problem for this site for a very, very long time.

I am not reflecting in any way on the residents of the property. It is an unusual property, and it has a significant area of grass and open space. It also has high pedestrian traffic, so it has been a bit of a magnet for rubbish and so on, and that has had an impact on the way the grounds are maintained.

But nevertheless it is an eyesore, and it has been an eyesore for quite some time.

I have had frequent contact from constituents on the issue. I met with the local council at a regular meeting a few weeks back, and they made the point to me that the premises were looking less than optimal and that the issue was certainly on their radar. As an example of some of the correspondence that I do receive on this subject, a constituent wrote, 

Over many years we have watched this Ministry site on the corner of Main Street and Surrey Road deteriorate. We believe the deterioration, rubbish, trash, broken fences are an inditment on the Labor government … and an insult to the community. 

They go on to make the point that the site is on Main Street, Mornington, which is the gateway to the town. It is a very visible site, and it is unsightly to say the least.

So I am very keen for the minister to take the necessary action to have these premises cleaned up—I am sure they could do with some work inside, but at this stage I am mainly concerned about the outside; I have had no representations on the interior—to make sure that the necessary repairs are done, that fences and so on are fixed up and that a proper maintenance plan is put in place to prevent the ongoing recurrence of this long-running problem.

Statement from the Shadow Minister for Housing

Funding the construction and maintenance of public and social housing is a core responsibility of the Victorian Government.

The suggestion from the Committee for Melbourne reported in The Age this morning that a levy should be imposed on Victorian homes and businesses is totally inappropriate.

However you describe it, a tax is a tax. Victorians are already paying more than enough taxes to appropriately fund public and social housing.

The fact that 49,644 households are stranded on public housing waiting lists is a direct consequence of the Andrews Labor Government’s failure to maintain our current housing stock, and to invest in new building.

The Victorian Liberal Nationals will not support another new tax on Victorian families and businesses.