MEMBER for Lowan Hugh Delahunty has urged Wimmera residents and organisations to share their views on the state of public housing in the region.
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Victorian Housing Minister Wendy Lovell has released two discussion papers about Victoria’s public housing sector: ‘Pathways to a Fair and Sustainable Social Housing System’ and ‘Social Housing Options to Improve the Supply of Quality Housing’.

The government has invited community feedback on the papers and will also host consultation sessions across the state in the coming weeks.

The Mail-Times reported in April that the Wimmera’s short-term and permanent public housing system was at breaking point and residents faced lengthy waits for temporary and long-term housing.

Wimmera Uniting Care chief executive Wendy Middleton said at the time a 13-week transitional housing program, designed to help people find long-term housing, was strained.

Almost 90 people in Horsham, Stawell and Ararat were unable to access short-term accommodation, with a three to six-month wait.

Mr Delahunty said the release of the discussion papers meant the government was a step closer to much-needed reform in the sector.

“There are a lot of organisations like Wimmera Uniting Care and the Salvation Army that do work with people looking for housing, but we would also love the private sector and individuals to look at these papers and put their views forward,” he said.

“Whether you are from Apsley, Edenhope, Horsham or Natimuk you would like to think there is some sort of assistance for people.

“We want people who use the public housing system to give us their views on what we can do better.”

Mr Delahunty said he had spoken to people within the private sector about the issue.

“The private sector cannot keep up with demand for rental properties,” he said.

“I know from talking to them that there are long lists of people waiting to get into rental properties.”

Mr Delahunty said the discussion papers were available to download at www.dhs.vic.gov.au.

He said the government would accept community submissions about the papers until 5pm on July 31.

Submissions could be made online or mailed to the Victorian Department of Human Services.

The consultation session for the Grampians region will be at the Brewery Lecture Theatre, Ballarat, from 2pm to 4pm on Thursday.

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