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Victorian Council of Social Services gets it wrong



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FEDERAL MEMBER FOR FORREST

Shadow Minister for Small Business, Housing and Customs.

Geoff Prosser M.P. Media Release

26 November 1991

VICTORIAN COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SERVICES GETS IT WRONG

The Federal Coalition has rejected claims by the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) that the Fightback strategy means the "death of public housing".

Shadow Minister for Housing, Geoff Prosser, said today that VCOSS had got it wrong.

"The savings to be achieved by the Coalition will not mean any reduction in the number of public houses. Rather, the initiative proposes only to change the method of funding the construction and purchase of public housing.

"Instead of the Commonwealth providing funds for the construction of public housing, as is currently the case, this function plus ownership of the houses will shift to the private sector.

"Effectively, the responsibility for the construction, purchase and ownership of a portion of public housing will rest with private sector investment institutions. State Governments will then lease the houses, for use by public tenants, on a long-term contract basis and with a fair rate of return.

"Commonwealth State Housing Agreement united funds will be primarily directed towards subsidising the rent of low income tenants residing in these houses. However, existing CSHA funds for emergency and crisis accommodation and mortgage and rent relief programs will stay in place.

"The scheme has already been trialled in NSW, where the NSW State Government entered into an arrangement with the AMP Society to lease 1,000 houses on a longĀ­ term basis. AMP receives a rental yield on the properties as well as a capital gain guaranteed to the equivalent of the CPI."

Mr Prosser also rejected VCOSS's claim that the potential public housing sell-off program would diminish public housing stocks.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY UBRAF MiCAH

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"In line with our commitment to encourage and facilitate home ownership, the Coalition will encourage the States to sell public housing to existing tenants. The proceeds of these sales will be reinvested into additional supplies of public housing.

"Finally, the Coalition will encourage the States to review eligibility criteria for public housing. The Real Estate Institute of Victoria estimates that 1 in 10 families living in public housing in Victoria has an annual income of $40,000 or more.

"There is a good argument for encouraging these families to move into the private rental market or home ownership, leaving the way open for more low-income families to move into public housing.

"Overall, it is quite feasible that under the Coalition's F/gtobadr strategy, the number of low-income families assisted into public housing could actually increase.

ends Canberra

For further information: Geoff Prosser (06) 277 4717

Karen Kuschert 277 4717

286 5006 (h)