BALLARAT’S public housing waiting list dropped by 16 applicants in the December quarter, according to the latest state government figures.
The Ballarat office received 785 applications in the three-month period, compared to 801 in the September quarter.
Statewide, there was an overall reduction of 492 from 34,408 to 33,916 – the lowest level since June 2007.
Housing Minister Wendy Lovell said the statewide public housing list had fallen for 10 of the 13 quarters since the Coalition government was elected in November, 2010.
“Overall, there are now 7296 fewer people waiting for housing than there were on the waiting list published by the former Labor government in September, 2010,” Ms Lovell said.
“The main reason for the drop in public housing waiting lists was better management and a sheer dedication to improving the system.”
However, Ms Lovell said there was still work to be done to reduce waiting lists further by reviewing vacancy rates, turnover procedures and working harder with those waiting the longest.
“We are also making people more aware of the options that are available to them with regard to community housing, bond loans for the private rental market and other forms of assistance.”
But Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight said the figures also showed the most vulnerable group, the early housing waiting list, had increased from 177 in Ballarat in September 2010 to 197 now.
“My concern is that these people are homeless, at risk of being homeless and really vulnerable people,” Ms Knight said.
She said no new public housing was being built in Victoria and urged the government to immediately invest in infrastructure to both cut the waiting list and provide jobs.
“I call on the government while it is developing its new budget to at least provide funding for new housing, particularly for those who are the most vulnerable.”