Bentley towers over empty statistics
TWO suburbs in the Southern Gazette area make the top five suburbs when it comes to empty public housing in the South East Metropolitan area.
Bentley tops the list with almost 15 per cent of public housing empty, and will remain so indefinitely due to plumbing issues associated with the 46-year-old Brownlie Towers.
Of 232 empty Housing Authority homes in the South East Metropolitan area, 140 of the total are empty due to needing extensive maintenance.
Out of 587 public housing homes in Bentley, 87 are empty; two homes are awaiting occupa- tion while 85 require extensive maintenance.
Most homes in the category are apartments in Brownlie Towers, putting the number of empty units in the 301-unit block around 28 per cent.
Rivervale and St James have 16 and nine empty houses respectively.
Housing Authority general manager service delivery Greg Cash said the apartments were not dilapidated, rather impacted by or at risk of plumbing issues affecting the entire complex.
He blamed the age of the building for the issue and could not confirm when it would be re- solved. “Housing is currently investigating the most appropriate solution to resolve this issue,” he said.
A Bentley revitalisation project announced in 2010 put the suburb on track to gain 1500 new mixed public and private homes in the 25 hectares surrounding Brownlie Towers.
A local structure plan for the project was up for consideration in the first quarter of this year, but no outcome is available at this stage.
Minister for Housing Colin Holt said he was not concerned with the number of empty dwellings in Bentley.
“It is important to remember that the Housing Authority manages more than 36,000 public housing properties and at any time a small percentage will be vacant for various reasons,” he said.
Opposition housing spokesman Fran Logan said the number of empty homes was disgraceful.
He said and Brownlie Towers was old and required a lot of work.
He called on the State Government to pursue a financial analysis to determine the viability of the homes.
“Brownlie Towers is an old building and requires ongoing maintenance, but to simply leave 85 units empty at a time when the State has over 20,000 applicants for housing on the waiting list is simply criminal,” he said.
“What is the Minister for Housing doing? He seems either oblivious to the problems or he just doesn’t care.”
Pia van Straalen