REFORM of Victoria's public housing sector moved a step closer this week with the release of two discussion papers by Housing Minister Wendy Lovell.
The papers, 'Pathways to a Fair and Sustainable Social Housing System' and 'Social Housing – Options to Improve the Supply of Quality Housing', aim to establish a fresh approach to the public housing system.
"We know from several recent reports into social housing in Victoria that the system can't go on in its current form," Ms Lovell said.
The Minister said a 2012 report from the Victorian Auditor-General's Office and an earlier Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry have shown that the provision of social housing is "unsustainable, unfair and lacks a clear overarching direction."
She also said the Auditor-General noted that the gap between rental income and operating costs is increasing and found that without change, the future of public housing is at risk.
"Doing nothing, maintaining the status quo, is not an option if the community expects social housing to be provided into the future," Ms Lovell said.
Following the Parliamentary Inquiry into public housing in September 2010, the Victorian Government announced that it would prepare a strategic framework for social housing.
According to the government, the framework has the objective of ensuring public and community housing is both sustainable and fair, while also exploring the role of government and other sectors in the community, such as the not-for-profit sector.
"The Victorian Government is seeking feedback from the community to help reform the system, meet fundamental challenges and make social housing more sustainable and equitable in the future," Ms Lovell said.
The consultation process with key stakeholders, including tenants' groups, community housing providers and individuals, will help to guide the development of the framework.
The discussion papers are available from the Department of Human Services website at <http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/>. Submissions can be made until 5pm on Tuesday 31 July 2012.