Thursday, 24 June 2021                         HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY                         Page 6342 – 6343

The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:06): My question is to the minister representing the Minister for Social Housing. Can the minister advise if Housing SA have sold any Housing SA homes in Port Pirie in the last 12 months; if so, how many? Also, can the minister advise the current number of vacant Housing SA properties in Port Pirie and also the estimated number of outstanding responsive maintenance requests and the value of these requests? With your leave, and that of the house, sir, I will explain further.

Leave granted.

The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I have spoken in this house before about homelessness in Port Pirie and surrounding areas. It’s around 450 people on my information. I have had discussions with some NGOs and they are at their wits’ end. They have over 400, on my information, across the region, and they’ve got no homes to go to. I’ve got people like Raymond Turner, who has no housing and he just walks around the community with a bag and a blanket—that’s all he’s got—and he cannot get any home in Port Pirie. So I’m asking the question: how many homes have been sold, the maintenance and vacancy?

The Hon. V.A. CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Planning and Local Government) (15:07): I note the questions that have been asked. I think there were a couple of extras in there also in relation to data sought for the particular area in the region of Port Pirie. I have no doubt the member, in representing part of South Australia’s regional areas, is conscious of the incredible pressure in relation to accommodation generally in relation to rural towns at present, given the large levels of infrastructure going on and, of course, huge amounts of tourism, so it adds to the pressure in relation to accommodation. I do understand that. I will take it on notice and make sure that Minister Lensink in the other place is able to provide that information.

I just remind members that, if they do seek information in relation to particular areas, they are able to actually put on notice those questions to get them back directly. They don’t have to wait until question time to do that for that information to be provided.

In reply to the Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (24 June 2021).

The Hon. V.A. CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Planning and Local Government): The Minister for Human Services has provided the following advice:

The SA Housing Authority sells South Australian Housing Trust (SAHT) properties on the open market to support its financial viability. I am pleased to inform you that under the Marshall Liberal government, the number of  financial viability sales of SA Housing Authority reduced by 77 per cent from peak sales in 2013-14 under the former Labor government.

The SA Housing Authority last sold three homes in June 2020 and has not sold any since. This is in stark comparison to the previous Labor government, which sold an average of 12 homes in Port Pirie each year during their final term in government.

The number of vacant properties in an area fluctuates regularly, depending on how many households leave or move to other public housing, and the progress of maintenance and upgrades. The majority of vacant properties are unoccupied for short periods are offered following routine maintenance. In some cases, offerable properties may remain vacant for longer periods of time due to tenant choice, or if the Authority plans to significantly upgrade, redevelop or sell the site.

I am pleased to let you know that the Marshall Liberal government invested $142 million in 2020-21 in maintenance, upgrades and renewal of public housing to ensure our homes are fit for purpose. During this time the properties remain vacant to ensure works can occur, however, hundreds of newly renovated properties have recently been completed and are being offered to new tenants.