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An immediate injection of $500,000 to fund a program of building works will improve living conditions at Ashburton’s Markham Avenue public housing estate.

Minister for Housing, Candy Broad, said the decision to fast-track works on the estate was made following strong representations from local MP Bob Stensholt. Many residents have raised their concerns about conditions at the estate with Mr Stensholt.

“As part of our $25 million blitz on public housing infrastructure, we have put Markham estate at the top of our upgrade agenda,” Ms Broad said.

“The Bracks Government believes all Victorians have the right to a decent place to live, so we have fast-tracked the upgrade of the Markham Avenue flats.”

The work follows a property survey of the estate carried out by the Office of Housing in May this year. Works will include:
Improving ventilation inside the units by replacing all bathroom exhaust fans with new units and cleaning or replacing wall vents,
Replacement of vinyl and carpet floor coverings where required,
Repairs to windows to make them easier to open,
Internal painting where necessary with an anti-mould paint,
Upgrading public lighting and
Repairs to pathways including kerbs and channels.

Urgent works to prevent damage to sewers at the estate is already complete, with the remaining works in the package to commence over the next few months.

Mr Stensholt welcomed the upgrade after discussing the details of the works package with Ms Broad.

“This is a greatly needed upgrade to bring living standards up to the 21st century,” Mr Stensholt said.

“I have been spent months working with residents to get all the problems documented and the solutions identified. The Minister has put up the cash and now we can get the tradesmen in to get the job started.”

Ms Broad also announced that resident concerns about anti-social behaviour and crime in the area would be tackled through the local Neighbourhood Renewal program.

A $50,000 grant has been made to the Craig Community Health Centre to operate a 12-month Health-Time project at the estate.

Local services such as Craig Community Health Centre, CamCare, the Salvation Army, Ashburton Police and Boroondara Council will visit the estate regularly to identify tenant needs, make appointments for tenants with services that can help, and work on practical community development and local policing initiatives.

The local Neighbourhood Renewal committee involving residents, police and other services is also drawing up a crime and safety strategy in a bid to further cut crime in the area.

The estate was built in 1955 and consists of 56 two-bedroom units in nine concrete two-storey blocks.

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Last Updated: 3 January 2007
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