Lalor Housing Roundtable

Meeting with those who offer emergency relief and those who work in homelessness and housing


On 29 April I met with the member for Tarneit, Dylan Wight, and representatives from our community-sector services in the electorate of Lalor. In attendance were representatives from Uniting Wyndham, Unison housing, Melbourne City Mission, WEstjustice, Wyndham Community and Education Centre settlement services, the Salvation Army, Wyndham City Council community services directorate, Orange Door, Anglicare and GenWest.

This meeting brought together the people in my community who support our most vulnerable: those who offer emergency relief and those who work in homelessness and housing. It was an important roundtable with an important group of people. It gave me the opportunity to thank them for their work across the 10 years that I have been the member for Lalor but also to acknowledge the power of their local advocacy, and what they, as advocacy groups, bring to us as members of parliament—the knowledge that they bring about our local community and the community's needs and concerns.

One of the things—or there were several things; the conversation went for hours, obviously, with a lot of intense listening. The member for Tarneit, Dylan Wight, was able to share with them some real data coming out of state government on the Big Build and what has been constructed in the electorate of Lalor and in the city of Wyndham across the past five years to support housing and homelessness. But also these organisations were able to bring to us some detail. One of the most compelling things they told me that day was of the increase in those having cost-of-living issues and that 60 per cent of those new people arriving for emergency relief were employed women—women with jobs.

Now, this is not something that is new to government. It is one of the reasons that is driving this government to get wages moving and particularly to get wages moving in our feminised workplaces. So I was pleased to be able to sit with these people and not only acknowledge the work that they do but also be able to tell them that we have a government committed to assisting them.

Last week, of course, in our budget, there were some fantastic announcements around housing, not the least of which I know they will be pleased about is the increase in rental assistance—a 25 per cent increase since we came to government. That is good news for 8,000 households in my community. I know it's good news for those who work tirelessly in this sector. I want to thank them for their work and encourage them to continue to advocate for the people of my community and the people that they represent in this place.

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