State member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath has stressed the need for more public housing in Gippsland following a report which revealed an increase in demand around the state.
The Victorian Parliament recently released a report on the inquiry into the state government's Public Housing Renewal Program, identifying the number of people on the Victorian Housing Register increased by about 1500 people in the first three months of 2018 alone.
The report revealed in March 2018 in Victoria, there were 57,877 adults and 24,622 children seeking public housing.
Ms Bath said the findings were concerning particularly when people from metropolitan Melbourne could apply for public housing anywhere throughout Victoria.
"People ... often apply for regional centres such as Gippsland and what this does is certainly put pressure on our central Gippsland population," Ms Bath said.
"If you overlay this with unemployment in the Latrobe Valley and then unemployment puts pressure on families."
"And you can have increased incidences of family violence and mental health issues as well and it can be a real pressure cooker situation."
The report stated the public housing available was ageing "and not keeping up with the increased demand for social housing on the Victorian Housing Register".
"In addition, existing public housing stock is primarily three-bedroom units, when the greatest demand is for one- and two-bedroom units," the report read.
Ms Bath said rental prices in the Latrobe Valley were around $360 to $420 on average for a three-bedroom house which was out of reach of the low-income earner.
She said making one- and two-bedroom units available should "certainly be the focus of all government".
"It's important we see additional availability of homes for people and then those wrap-around services to help with any of those mental and social issues they may have," Ms Bath said.