Mildura council declares housing crisis in north-western Vic

Mildura Rural City Council has declared a housing crisis, passing a motion last week calling on the federal government to take urgent action.

It’s the fourth Victorian council – after Surf Coast Shire, Colac Otway Shire, and Mornington Peninsula Shire – to vote to declare a housing crisis.

In April/May 2021, the Byron, Bellingen, and Tweed Shire Councils all declared housing emergencies in their local government areas on the NSW Far North Coast.

Speaking after the Mildura Rural City Council meeting, councillor and restaurateur Stefano De Pieri said the declaration was a “call to arms”.

“We have two options as a council: either to remain silent and pretend that nothing is happening … or sometimes we have to lift the lid on an issue and say, ‘we have an issue’,” Mr De Pieri said.

Like many other regional towns, Mildura’s housing stocks have not kept up with demand, leading to a substantial shortage of accommodation for key and essential workers.

Prospective renters in Mildura have described waiting in line with up to 40 other people to view newly listed properties.

The Albanese government has committed $10 billion to build 30,000 new social and affordable housing properties across the country.

This month’s National General Assembly of Local Government will debate upwards of a dozen motions on the need for further action by the Commonwealth and state governments to alleviate housing affordability issues.

There will also be a panel session on housing, population, and workforce skills with Wendy Hayhurst, CEO of the Community Housing Industry Association, among the panellists.