Kim Hames

Kim Hames


    State Government's New Living Initiative wins United Nations Award

    5/08/2000 6:00 AM

      The State Government’s biggest ever urban renewal program, New Living, has won the prestigious United Nations World Habitat Award.

      The $320 million program defeated five other international finalists.

      Housing Minister Dr Kim Hames said he was proud that a Western Australian initiative had won international acclaim.

      “New Living is an incredible success story for WA, with more than two thousand individuals or families now living in homes of their own, in safer and more secure communities, and in an environment that is far more appealing,” Dr Hames said.

      “The World Habitat Award is further endorsement of an initiative that has already been supported by the communities that have benefited from New Living.”

      The director of the United Nations Building and Social Housing Foundation, Peter Elderfield, visited WA in April and inspected a number of the New Living projects, including Lockridge, Kwinana, New North (Balga, Girrawheen, Koondoola, Westminster) and Karawara.

      At the time of his visit, Mr Elderfield said that he was looking at lifestyle, quality and people involvement.

      “What impressed me in WA was the quality, housing location and pricing, which was remarkably reasonable,’’ he said.

      Mr Elderfield was also shown areas still in the process of being upgraded under the New Living program, so he could see the changes that had been brought about.

      He was able to see what could be achieved with a Government agency working in partnership with private enterprise and the community.

      New Living currently involves the renewal of 17 public housing dominated areas across the State.

      Though each is different, the aims are the same:
      • to reduce the public housing presence which dominated the area;
      • to refurbish houses for sale to the public or existing tenants;
      • reduce the social stigma caused by the density of inappropriate and outdated public housing;
      • upgrade and refurbish public rental housing;
      • improve the social mix;
      • Improve the total area with streetscapes and parks to create a satisfied community; and -
      • encourage a sense of added security for local residents by eliminating areas which provided venues for anti-social behaviour.

      The World Habitat Awards were initiated in 1985 as part of the Building and Social Housing Foundation’s contribution to the United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless in 1987.

      This is the second time Australia has won an award and the second time Western Australia has been featured.

      A Ministry of Housing project featured in 1992 when Phylos Homes, Belmont, a self-help group for people with severe disabilities, was a runner-up.

      In 1997 Wintringham Port Melbourne Hostel, a hostel for the frail aged who were previously living on the streets was a winner.

      The award, with a cash prize of approximately $26,000, will be presented to the Ministry of Housing in Jamaica on World Habitat Day on October 2.

      Media contact: Mike Groves, Minister’s office 9424 7450
      Janet Wainwright, Ministry of Housing 9222 4500
      Mr Elderfield can be contacted in the United Kingdom 0011 44 1530 510 444
      or by e-mail