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June 28, 2011  |  Adjournment

Housing: Heidelberg West

I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Housing. The action I seek is for the minister to attend a Heidelberg West Neighbourhood Renewal Steering Committee meeting at the committee IT hub in Heidelberg West. We meet monthly on Thursday afternoons from about 4.30 pm until 6.30 p.m. Those meetings cover a range of issues, and obviously the neighbourhood renewable steering committee includes residents of Heidelberg West, of which I am one, and representatives of a number of agencies such as Banyule City Council, Banyule Community Health Service and other community organisations.

We have been working very hard on a range of initiatives in the Heidelberg West community, particularly concerning the renewal of housing stock and concerns around the maintenance of and access to public housing.

We have noticed that over the past couple of years we have been able to do work to rebuild places like Malahang Reserve to make them appropriate for the local community to work there and use the facilities. There has been a range of social housing investment throughout Heidelberg West thanks to the work of the previous Labor government, and the Rudd and Gillard Labor governments federally through Building the Education Revolution.

What we would like to put on the agenda for our meeting with the minister is a range of issues, including the recent GHD Consulting report into the condition of housing stock in Heidelberg West. That report is yet to be released by the government — a report we would like to discuss with the minister and be briefed on. We would also like to have a discussion about a recent Somali housing forum and some of the concerns that were raised by the local community in relation to the housing needs of the Somali community.

We would like to ask the government what its plans are for investment in public housing, particularly around Perth Street, just up the road from where I live, and a number of other housing estates and vacant land in Heidelberg West. The northern region of the Office of Housing does not have the required funds to invest in new housing stock on these sites. There is nothing in the budget for the office to be able to increase housing stock in Heidelberg West.

We are seeing the wash-through of a number of projects that have been funded by the commonwealth in conjunction with the previous Labor government. What we would like to see is the Baillieu government’s plan to invest in and improve public housing stock in Heidelberg West and to respond to the needs of the local community with regard to a number of vacant sites, such as those in Perth Street.

We encourage the minister to come and meet the hardworking committee.

It has achieved great gains in the past, and I am sure it will achieve great gains in the future. We are very keen to have the minister meet members of the committee so they can work with her and with the government to continue to improve the lives and aspirations of people living in public housing in Heidelberg West. I look forward to a favourable response from the minister in terms of reporting back to the committee.