User:LivelyRatification/Australia: Works on $300,000 housing development in Sea Lake, Victoria begin

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Thursday, September 30, 2021

The main street of Sea Lake in 2011.
Image: User:Mattinbgn.

Works have today started on a new housing development in the Victorian town of Sea Lake, with A$300,000 being granted from the Regional Recovery Fund of the Victorian state government to the Shire of Buloke to commence the development.

Up to eight houses will be built on the site of a former Sea Lake school using the funding provided, all of which will be sold privately. Victorian minister for regional development Mary-Anne Thomas, who visited Sea Lake today, connected the investment with the issue of a lack of homes for workers in the area, saying "we understand that housing related workforce shortages are a real issue in our regional towns right now – that's why we're investing in projects to address these issues and support regional businesses across the state".

Wikinews contacted Ali Cupper via email with a number of questions relating to the housing development in Sea Lake and the issue of housing in the broader region. Cupper is an independent politician and the state MP for the Mildura district, which covers Sea Lake. Cupper's answers to the questions were as follows:

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Do you think the government is doing enough to solve issues of housing in the Loddon-Mallee region?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Ali CupperWikinews waves Right.png)) This is certainly a step in the right direction, and is making an important contribution to addressing the town's existing housing needs. We are seeing similar developments being put in place across the Loddon-Mallee to address a mix of permanent and seasonal worker housing shortages in the likes of Ouyen and Robinvale. We'll lobby for a project similar to the Sea Lake housing development to be put in place in Ouyen. Our advocacy regarding housing shortages will also continue in line with the community's needs.

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) What would you like to see done to support seasonal workers in Sea Lake and surrounds in future?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Ali CupperWikinews waves Right.png)) As the mayor of Buloke Shire was telling me today, there are many jobs available in Sea Lake as a result of a rapidly growing local economy. One thing impeding people from coming to Sea Lake and similar towns is a lack of available housing, so this is a step towards addressing that need. In terms of specific initiatives, we will be guided by local communities and councils.

Wikinews waves Left.png((WNWikinews waves Right.png)) Is there anything else you have to say on this plan?

Wikinews waves Left.png((Ali CupperWikinews waves Right.png)) It's a great win for the Sea Lake community, especially Buloke Shire Council which led this project from the very beginning. Sea Lake is an innovative and highly motivated community which is going ahead in leaps and bounds, and it is great to see their initiative being rewarded with government investment like this.

Mark Gepp, a Labor state MLC for the Northern Victoria Region, commented on the Sea Lake housing development, telling "this project has been developed to tackle housing shortages and other barriers to workforce attraction, which can hold back economic growth and recovery". Buloke Shire mayor Daryl Warren also stated in regards to the development that "suitable housing stock is a key issue for Buloke Shire residents and council heard this loud and clear in working with the community to devise our Council Plan".


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.