Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas and Cobaw Community Health's Julie Cairns welcome the funding announcement.

Macedon Ranges Shire has been identified as one of 21 priority areas across Victoria in a plan to increase the state’s social housing supply.
The Victorian Budget 2020/21 will deliver $5.3 billion to build more than 12,000 homes throughout metro and regional Victoria, and a minimum investment of $30 million locally will see new homes built in Gisborne and Kyneton.
Social housing supply, which provides homes for people on low incomes, pensioners, the disabled, disadvantaged or those identified as in need of emergency housing, is increasingly scarce in the Macedon Ranges as growing interest in the real estate market pushes rental prices skyward.
Cobaw Community Health’s general manager of community services, Julie Cairns, said the biggest challenge for Cobaw’s housing program was accessing affordable housing locally.
“Often the people who come to our service have to move out of the area to find rental accommodation that they can afford, so it means they move away from their community, from their family and their supports,” Ms Cairns said.
“We’re working with 30 to 50 people at any one time who are either homeless or struggling to maintain their accommodation so it’s a real and ongoing challenge and it’s become even tighter with COVID because the rental market has completely shrunk.”
Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas said the shire’s population centres of Gisborne and Kyneton were selected because they provided access to services and public transport.
“It’s about giving people access to housing in communities where there are jobs and opportunities, as well as services,” Ms Thomas said.
“We’ve got a diverse community here, we have lots of people living with significant disadvantage in their lives and thankfully they’ve got somewhere like Cobaw to come to for advice, assistance and support, but housing has really been a challenge.”
The state-wide investment will generate an estimated $6.7 billion in economic activity to aid Victoria’s economic recovery through the pandemic and beyond.
The program will provide about 10,000 jobs per year over the next four years, with 10 per cent of the work on major projects to be done by apprentices, cadets and trainees.
Jobs will also be created for women, Aboriginal Victorians, people with disability, social housing tenants and people from diverse backgrounds through social procurement targets.
Expressions of interest are now being sought from the housing and building sectors.