Getting public housing back on track

In just over two years, the Marshall Liberal Government has made significant inroads to turn the state’s neglected public housing system around.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said significant investment was underway across the state’s public housing system, including more maintenance and less “financial viability” sales than under Labor.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is boosting maintenance funding to fix our public homes left to ruin under Labor – and we are committed to continuing to improve public housing for our tenants,” said Minister Lensink.

“On top of this, we have significantly reduced financial viability sales, meaning that current levels of sales are at one quarter of the levels sold under Labor.”

Minister Lensink said Labor had left a shocking legacy – and the Marshall Liberal Government was determined to fix the system.

“Labor used the housing trust as an ATM to prop up the rest of the budget,” said Minister Lensink.

“The former Labor Government sold $1.5 billion worth of Housing SA properties, which equates to about 7,500 homes.”

Financial viability sales were set into the State Budget by the previous Labor Government, with a whopping 642 houses sold in 2011-12, and another 541 properties sold in 2012-13.

In 2019-20 the government sold 200 properties, and it is projected around 150 properties will need to be sold every year for the next three financial years to 2022-23.

Minister Lensink said the government was focused on renewing public housing and building new fit-for-purpose dwellings that better suit the needs of tenants.

“Late last year, we announced our new $550 million housing and homelessness strategy – a once-in-a-generation opportunity to modernise our system and deliver real change for South Australians,” said Minister Lensink.

“At its heart, the new strategy aims to help South Australians into homeownership, prevent people falling into homelessness and ensure public housing is available for our most vulnerable.”

Marshall Liberal Government new investment in housing includes:

* A $21.4 million stimulus package for the housing and construction industry to build 100 new homes, including 71 to be sold as affordable. These homes are set to be built by early-to-mid-2021.

* An additional $21.1 million for a maintenance blitz to improve almost 500 Housing SA properties and units, which is well underway.

* A fast-tracked $10 million maintenance stimulus committed as part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s $1 billion COVID-19 stimulus package, delivering upgrades to 1400 properties. $8.4 million is now completed, with the rest to be finished by December.

* A new $550 million Our Housing Future 2020-30 strategy, which includes $400 million to build 1000 new affordable homes by 2025, a $20 million Homelessness Prevention fund and $75 million in maintenance funding on top of the annual $115 million maintenance budget.

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