Victoria’s Big Housing Build

Renew congratulates the Victorian government on its announcement of a major social housing build.

There has never been a more important time to invest in social housing. With 100,000 Victorians on the waiting list for a home, new homes will provide security and change lives. What’s more, the plan will create much-needed jobs following the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Big Housing Build plan includes spending of $5.3 billion on 12,000 new homes over four years. The investment will deliver 9,300 new social housing homes, alongside 2,900 new affordable and low-cost homes for people on low to moderate incomes. (Social housing refers to both government-owned public housing and community housing managed by not-for-profit third parties or co-ops.)

Renew applauds the government for its commitment to a 7-star NatHERS rating for the new homes.

The 7-star rated homes will typically require up to 25-30% less energy to heat and cool than a home with the mandatory minimum standard of 6 stars.

This is a win for residents, who will pay lower bills and enjoy healthier and more comfortable homes that are more resilient to winter cold and summer heatwaves. What’s more, it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and pressure on the electricity grid at peak times.

With COAG governments considering increasing national building standards in 2022, this program will help to build industry capacity for mass-scale rollout of better energy standards including 7-star rated homes and increased rooftop solar. This announcement shows that a 7+ star standard is possible and needed for all new Australian homes.

We are hopeful that alongside its commitment for 7-star homes, the Big Housing Build can also take the further necessary steps to make these homes world class. These include:

  • Install all-electric heating, cooling, hot water and cooking – keeping residents’ bills low into the future without the need for gas connections
  • Install attached solar PV – further reducing energy bills
  • Future-proofing homes by ensuring readiness for batteries and storage
  • Utilise sustainable materials to reduce embodied energy in construction
  • Quality design, integrated planning, access to services and transport, access to green spaces and community gardens

Alongside the big build of public and community housing, governments can and should create jobs by upgrading existing homes through a National Low Income Energy Productivity Program.

Read more about Renew’s Climate Resilient Homes campaign.