Valley targeted for public housing upgrades

Public housing across the Latrobe Valley will get a facelift as 224 residential properties were earmarked for upgrades by the State Government yesterday.

About 80 construction jobs will be created, according to the State Government who said the upgrades would include new kitchens and bathrooms, replacement of carpet and existing services in some of the region’s most run down homes.

Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley said tenders for the work would be publically advertised with local tradesmen and services favoured.

“We want to make sure that every dollar of government investment in the Valley has a multiplier effect of jobs and building a better future for the Latrobe Valley,” Mr Foley said.

“When it comes to this kind of work (there’s) a strong bias in favour of local tradies and local provisions of services.”

During the works, tenants will be temporarily relocated in a project that is expected to take about three years to complete.

“The consultation with tenants is already underway and that process will roll out over the next three years but start from 1 July (this year),” Mr Foley said.

Most of the work is expected to take place across the Latrobe Valley at homes in Churchill, Moe, Morwell, Newborough and Traralgon with additional upgrades at Sale and Wurruk.

“There will be a bit obviously in the greater Latrobe Valley area to include Sale but overwhelmingly it will be within the city of Latrobe,” Mr Foley said.

Latrobe City Council mayor Kellie O’Callaghan said the announcement was consistent with the community’s request to diversify job opportunities and would provide higher quality public housing across the region.

“We’ve always known that we’ve had some challenges in our community in terms of availability of housing and it’s something that we need to be acutely aware of,” Cr O’Callaghan.

“We want to make sure that the public housing we have available is of a high standard (and) is appropriate.”

The work is expected to be completed by 2020.