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More than five million dollars invested in innovative North Melbourne housing for elderly people

The Federal Minister for Housing and Regional Development, Brian Howe, today launched the Golden Jubilee public and community housing project in North Melbourne for elderly people and their families.

The Federal Government also introduced today into Parliament in Canberra important legislation guaranteeing improved standards in public and community housing.

These new standards have been developed in partnership with the States. All States will develop a consumer code of practice and ensure public housing tenants have access to quality housing services and independent appeals mechanisms for complaints.

The North Melbourne launch is part of the fifty year celebration of the creation of the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement.

The Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement was established by the Chifley Labor Government recognising the importance of access to good housing if Australians were to have a good quality of life after World War II.

"Thanks to Chifley it has become part of our tradition for Labor governments to give, and honour, commitments to providing Australians with access to housing that is secure, affordable and suited to their needs, whether they be home buyers, public housing tenants or renters in the private sector," Mr Howe said.

"The legislation introduced into Parliament today maintains this tradition; today's launch is a practical expression of this history ad tradition."

The Golden Jubilee Project, located between Brougham and Erskine Streets, North Melbourne, is centred around a courtyard and contains a mix of 35 one-bedroom units and five family townhouses.

"The Golden Jubilee Project provides low cost housing for both elderly people and families. It represents a truly innovative response to meeting the needs of people within their local communities," Mr Howe said.

"This high quality development is at the cutting edge of public housing. It integrates well with the local streetscape and makes excellent use of existing infrastructure," he said.

Tenants who have already settled into housing on the site have expressed a great deal of satisfaction with their new housing.

Many are particularly pleased because they were relocated from nearby high rise housing estates and are enjoying their new community atmosphere.

The project is the result of a design competition held in 1988 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a former design competition held by the former Housing Commission. The original winning entry of the 1938 competition was used in the Commission's first housing project at Garden City, Port Melbourne.

The project blends older architectural themes with contemporary styles.

On the same site, a former church will be converted and leased to the Abbeyfield Society to provide community housing for elderly people.

The Melbourne City Council contributed $150,000 towards the purchase of the land and Commonwealth funding of more than $5 million was provided through the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement for the development of the project.

"This development demonstrates the excellent results that can be achieved when all levels of government co-operate," Mr Howe said.

Contact: Andrew Casey, Brian Howe's office, 06 277 7099