9 August 2023
Haines takes regional housing solutions to the Prime Minister
Independent Federal Member for Indi Helen Haines met with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday to present practical and sensible solutions to address issues worsening the housing supply crisis in regional Australia.
“The housing crisis is one of the biggest issues facing regional Australia. People from all over Indi speak to me about the lack of housing availability and affordability in our towns,” Dr Haines said.
“I spoke to the Prime Minister about the housing issues we face in regional Australia, and how the problems and solutions are different than those in the cities. He listened and acknowledged the work I have done in this area already.”
Dr Haines also secured a meeting for the Rural City of Wangaratta with Housing Minister Julie Collins to present their plans for the former Ovens College site on Greta Road in Wangaratta.
Wangaratta Mayor Dean Rees and Rural City of Wangaratta CEO Brendan McGrath were joined by Alan Takle from not-for-profit social enterprise and housing developer Nestd, which has been contracted to deliver 200 safe, quality, energy-efficient homes for young people, pensioners, women at risk of homelessness and essential workers development at the Greta Road site.
“We desperately need more affordable housing in Wangaratta. The proposal for the Ovens College site would go a long way to addressing the lack of social, affordable, and key worker housing in town. We just need the tools to unlock funding for the critical infrastructure to make this project a reality,” Dr Haines said.
“Bringing local government to Canberra and getting them to present their unique solutions to the challenges our community is facing is really powerful.
“The government is listening and hearing the problems that we are facing in regional and rural areas when it comes to housing.”
Dr Haines wants the Government to invest in critical enabling infrastructure to increase housing supply through a dedicated Regional Housing Infrastructure Fund.
“I am the first to acknowledge that there is no silver bullet to solve the housing crisis in regional Australia. But I have been consulting widely on what the solutions could be and what I’ve heard loud and clear is that funding for critical enabling infrastructure is a major handbrake on housing supply,” Dr Haines said.
“Flexible funding that invests in critical infrastructure like pavements, poles and drainage, would unlock housing supply in regional Australia. Wangaratta, for instance, needs significant investment in sewerage infrastructure to allow for the demand that new homes would create.
“Talking about sewerage isn’t sexy. But it’s critical investments in this infrastructure that would enable more homes to be built in our region and across Australia.”