Call for public housing security in Gippsland

PROPOSED State Government changes to tenancy tenure has instigated Latrobe City Council to call on the government to provide public housing security to Gippsland residents.

Concerns from Gippsland tenants were voiced by Latrobe Valley resident and Victorian Public Tenants Association chairperson Margaret Guthrie at council on Monday.

Ms Guthrie urged councillors to take into consideration the plight of about 500 Gippsland residents, currently on the priority public housing waiting list, when responding to the State Government’s recently released public housing review.

“Latrobe City has significant public housing neighbourhoods, so it is appropriate for local government to have a say in the consultation process the Victorian government has undertaken,” Ms Guthrie said.

“Under the current system, residents have to go where public housing is available, or wait until something is available.

“The Victorian Government is proposing fixed term rental tenure… this could have a significant impact upon communities.”

Ms Guthrie said the proposal to limit tenure, would strip confidence and security away from tenants, who are already “struggling” in the current public housing system.

Her plea was heard by council who unanimously voted to write to State Housing Minister Wendy Lovell, informing her of their response to the review; council will urge the State Government, asking for security of tenure for long term residents to be maintained.

As part of its response, council have also asked for public housing to be maintained at affordable levels.

“By reducing support, we in some way lessen the importance of (public housing being in place,” Councillor Kellie O’Callaghan said.

“People need to have a place.”

Cr Dale Harriman shared his fellow councillors’ views, adding the proposal would hurt “the most vulnerable in our community and really penalises them”.