Housing led stimulus can catapult Victoria out of pandemic-economic mire
The Victorian government has announced over $5 billion to social housing projects which can propel the state’s economy out of recession and save thousands of building and construction jobs.
Incolink chief executive Erik Locke says the announcement was exactly the shot in the arm the state needed, and industry wanted to see smart, innovative policies to ‘pull through’ stalled housing investment, as quickly as possible: “Interstate and overseas migration has been decimated by the pandemic and the construction sector was expecting a 10% reduction in output in 2020 alone.
“Without this type of decisive action, the industry was walking towards an economic cliff, so this investment is sensible and extremely well timed.”
The building and construction industry in Victoria employs more than 300,000 people, accounting for 9.1% of the Victorian workforce and 7.8% of economic activity while also supporting more small businesses than any other.
“This protects thousands of jobs and will flow through the supply chain of the construction industry, sustaining businesses, contractors and sub-contractors,” Erik says.
He also adds that the government should look to bring forward as much housing as possible in the next two years while also suggesting the federal government should follow Victoria’s leadership.
“There are smart ways to fast track this investment. For example, 91 projects have been approved by the Victorian Governments’ Building Victoria’s Recovery Taskforce but many of these projects are yet to get underway due to market uncertainty,” he says.
“The government can move quickly from shovel ready to shovels in the ground by purchasing off-the-plan units from projects already approved but yet to get underway due to the pandemic.
“Social and affordable housing build at scale leads to increased productivity by ensuring jobs and housing are closely located.
“Victoria leads the nation in so many ways, but on public and community housing we are behind – this investment will bridge the gap, bringing us closer to the national average on social housing units per capita.”
He cited the Victorian Auditor General’s estimated that there is a shortfall of 70,000 to 100,000 homes in Victoria, with 80% of those requested being are one and two-bedroom units.
“With the impact of the pandemic, these numbers are only likely to increase so this investment was desperately needed.”