Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:04): My question is to the minister representing the Minister for Regional Development, and it relates to the Andrews government’s Big Housing Build program. It was pleasing to see the government announce that 25 per cent of its Big Housing Build would be spent solely across regional Victoria. This equates to around $1.25 billion of investment in our regional centres and rural communities. I think this is a good indication that the government recognises that homelessness and rental stress stretch far beyond the high-rises of the metro suburbs. Of the $1.25 billion, $765 million has already been allocated to regional local government areas through the minimum investment guarantee, leaving $485 million to be allocated to other areas. Yarriambiack shire have not yet been included on this list but would very much like to see investment in social housing in their local government area. My question is: can the government guarantee that Yarriambiack Shire Council will receive a portion of the Big Housing Build’s unallocated funds?
Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (12:05): Thank you, Minister. A beautiful handball there. Since my election to this place I have met with many NGOs and organisations that work to reduce family violence and, as a consequence, homelessness. Many of these organisations, including the Salvation Army, have told me that the current availability of social housing is low and so would absolutely welcome the Big Housing Build initiative. However, they and other organisations also noted that the variation of social housing is limited. For example, if a mother and her five children need crisis accommodation or even long-term affordable accommodation, they sometimes would have to have multiple hotel rooms rented for them. Not only is this dangerous and not good enough for the children involved, but it is an expensive exercise for the government to undertake. Therefore my supplementary question is: has the government done planning, data collection and consultation to ensure that the Big Housing Build invests in a range of affordable housing for single people to large families and everything in between?