Wednesday, 22 February 2023


Rochester social housing

Rochester social housing

Wendy LOVELL (Northern Victoria) (17:33): (50) My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Housing and concerns ongoing housing needs in Rochester following the devastating October flood event. It kind of carries on from my statement on reports, which the minister might also like to read. The action that I seek is for the minister to address the shortage of accommodation for Rochester residents displaced from their homes due to the major flood event in October 2022 by providing funding for additional social housing to be constructed, which will ensure a legacy for the Rochester community, and also to establish some temporary housing structures in the town for out-of-town tradespeople to assist with the reconstruction of properties in the town.

The township of Rochester was severely impacted by the major flood event in October 2022, and the impact on residents continues as the town attempts to recover from this devastating event. It is estimated that 90 per cent of homes were inundated, damaged or isolated by the floods, not to mention the impact the event has had on most of the local businesses and essential services. Many home owners and renters have been displaced from their properties, with most facing the reality of being unable to return to their homes anytime soon. Many landlords have been unable to undertake remediation works in a timely fashion, and I have previously spoken about the frustration that many residents are experiencing dealing with their insurance companies. With rental properties taking longer to come back online, rental costs will skyrocket and the most vulnerable will be the ones most affected. The construction of additional social housing in Rochester would provide a legacy project for the town that would help residents recover from the devastating flood as well as futureproof the town’s rental housing requirements for some of the more vulnerable tenants.

A major factor for home owners who are experiencing arduous delays in getting their damaged home repaired is the shortage of tradesmen in the local area. Many tradies who carry out repairs or remediation works on damaged Rochester properties are from metropolitan Melbourne and are travelling a 4-hour round trip from their homes to Rochester to work each day. This is a cost that is being borne by home owners, and 20 hours of travelling time per tradesman each week equates to home owners having to pay an extra two and a half days of wages just for travel. That additional cost means that any insurance money is stretched further and obviously repairs are much more expensive. In the wake of the flood, temporary housing structures, colloquially known as ‘dongas’, were erected at the Elmore Events Centre. I have also been advised that many of these structures are not currently being used and the relocation of those structures from the event centre to somewhere like the Rochester Recreation Reserve would provide excellent accommodation for tradesmen working in the town.