Have your say on proposal to increase affordable housing

Published on 23 October 2023

Woman watering a house plant in her home.

Council is committed to addressing the housing affordability challenge in the shire.

As part of this work, Council is considering allocating 49-year leases on two parcels of land in Maldon and Newstead for the purposes of affordable housing.

Under the proposal, Council would lease land at 10 Steele Street, Maldon and 2A Canrobert Street, Newstead to Wintringham Housing to build and provide long-term, affordable rental housing for older residents in the community.

The leases would be charged at peppercorn rates (a very small charge), to enable the homes to be affordable.

Wintringham Housing is a specialist community housing provider that work with people over 50 years of age who are on the Victorian Housing Register priority waitlist.

They have a long history of providing well-designed and secure housing for people, and successfully established and operate cottages at 72 Lyttleton Street, Castlemaine.

Mount Alexander Shire Councillors unanimously resolved to support the affordable housing proposal at the meeting of Council on Tuesday 17 October.

Councillors are now encouraging residents to have their say on whether or not they support the opportunity.

“We know there is a big need for affordable housing for in our communities,” said Tarrangower Ward Councillor, Stephen Gardner.

“This is an exciting initiative which would be fantastic to see to come to fruition.

“We are at the beginning of the process and there’s a long-way to go before we will see new homes in the ground if this project is supported by our community.

“Further funding will need to be sought, and there’s planning processes to navigate – but this is a start, and it’s a step in the right direction,” said Cr Gardner.

Loddon River Ward Councillor, Deputy Mayor Matt Driscoll encouraged the Newstead community to have their say on the proposal in the coming weeks. 

“We’d like to know what residents think about this opportunity, so we can be sure we’re making the right decisions for our community,” said Deputy Mayor Driscoll. 

“In my view, this is a positive plan to help make more affordable homes available to people over 50 who need it.

“Wintringham Housing are respected providers of affordable housing for older people, and have a fantastic reputation of delivering well-designed homes throughout Victoria.

“So many people in our community are priced out of the market right now, so we’ve got to do everything we can to change that,” said Deputy Mayor Driscoll.

Have your say

Community members are encouraged to attend a face-to-face information session to find out more about the proposal at one of the following locations:

  • Newstead Transaction Centre, 24 October, 4.00pm to 6.00pm and 2 November, 11.00am to 1.00pm
  • Maldon Neighbourhood Centre, 31 October, 4.00pm to 6.00pm and 2 November, 2.00pm to 3.30pm
  • Castlemaine – Ray Bradfield Rooms (Victory Park), 1 November, 4.30pm to 6.30pm.

Submissions close on Wednesday 15 November.

Following community input, Council officers will prepare a report which will be presented to Councillors for consideration and decision at a future Council meeting.

Allocation of the proposed 49-year leases will be dependent on Wintringham Housing being successful in obtaining grant funding.

“I’d encourage anyone who’s passionate about this issue to get online and complete a quick survey about this,” said Deputy Mayor Driscoll. 

“Council officers will also be holding information sessions in various locations throughout the shire, ready to answer any questions our community members may have about this.”

For more information, visit www.shape.mountalexander.vic.gov.au, contact Council’s Housing Solutions Broker, Clare Richards on 5471 1700 or email affordablehousing@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

Snapshot on affordable housing in Mount Alexander Shire:

  • $430 is the median weekly rent in the shire
  • The availability of affordable rentals has declined by 20% since 2015
  • 47% of shire households are in rental stress
  • At least 14% of shire households are in mortgage stress
  • 5,696 more people will call the shire home by 2046
  • More than 700 households in the shire have an unmet need for affordable housing.