My constituency question is for the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing. What are the processes and policies in place for periodic inspections of department housing? A welfare group in my electorate has raised concerns about the number of department properties sitting vacant in Warrnambool. Around 32 are sitting empty, awaiting repair. This is at a time when waiting lists are growing and there are ever-increasing instances of homelessness being reported. The group is concerned department staff are not able to inspect properties regularly and intervene early enough when damage is done. This then means that when tenancies on these properties end a significant amount of repairs are required, at significant cost to the taxpayer, and the property is then taken offline. I am told they are vacant for between three months and two years. Private rentals are often subject to six-monthly inspections, and defects and damages are listed for the tenant to repair. With access to housing and homelessness a growing concern, it seems unreasonable for houses to be sitting empty for months on end while welfare agencies are scrambling to find emergency accommodation for those in need.
23 August 2017