Wheatley Group welcomes Australian MPs to Scotland

A group of Victorian Legislative Council MPs from Australia visited Wheatley Group as part of a fact-finding trip into housebuilding in Scotland.

Australian MPs stand with Anthony Allison

The visit comes after the Victorian Government launched a £3bn ‘Big Housing Build’ programme in 2020 which aims to build over 12,000 new homes over the next four years.

The delegation, made up of Labor member Cesar Melhem, Reason Party leader Fiona Patten and Transport Matters Party Co-leader Rod Barton, visited Wheatley House in Glasgow on 28 June.

MPs heard about Wheatley Group’s new-build and regeneration programmes, Wheatley’s focus on sustainability, the life-changing work of Wheatley Foundation as well as the Group’s care and support services.

Hosted by Director of Governance, Anthony Allison, the MPs met with Lindsay Lauder, Director of Development and Regeneration, Emma Thomson, Head of Care (East) from Wheatley Care and Mark Nicol, Wheatley Group’s Community Improvement Partnership Lead, which helps create safe and peaceful neighbourhoods.

Anthony Allison said: “We were delighted to welcome the visiting MPs and share our knowledge, expertise and experiences. The visitors were very interested in how we put tenants at the very heart of our decision-making and how we are transforming communities for the better.

“They were also very impressed by our award-winning Community Improvement Partnership. We hope they will be able to take some of the Wheatley story with them and help create better homes and better lives in Victoria.”

The visit was part of a two-day tour of Scotland, organised by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA). During the visit, the MPs also heard about housing affordability and availability, management of social housing systems and the day-to-day work of housing staff in Scotland.

Fiona Patten MP said: “One thing that’s become clear during the visit is the vitally important role that housing associations and social landlords play in Scotland in meeting housing needs. It is very different to Australia, where the majority of social housing is state owned and operated.

“It was fascinating visiting Wheatley Group and seeing their use of innovation, something that isn’t always possible for governments to do. How Wheatley supports its customers and helps create peaceful communities is a unique approach and something we’ll be talking about when we get back to Australia.”

The ‘Big Housing Build’ programme pledges to create 2900 new affordable and market homes for first-home buyers and renters, and also 9300 new social housing properties.

They also look to provide 2000 more properties for Victorians with mental health issues and create a gender equity plan to get more women into construction.

Thursday, June 30, 2022