Budget fails to deliver real outcomes in housing

This year’s budget was an opportunity for the NSW government to deliver major investment in social and affordable housing to address the urgent need for homes that people can afford especially at this time as we face the social and economic impacts of Covid in the coming year.  Unfortunately the Treasurer has not delivered any significant funds, plans or strategies to deal with the growing crisis in housing in NSW. This is in stark contrast to the $5.2b that the Victorian government committed to spend on the development of some 12,000 public housing dwellings in the next 4 years. There is $110m this year to provide upgrades and maintenance to social housing properties, including properties managed by Community Housing Providers and this figure includes funds to provide jobs for this work. This is important funding as it’s vital to address the chronic neglect of maintenance in the government’s social housing stock. However this funding does not address the urgent need to build and develop many more dwellings that people can afford to live in during 2020-2021. The allocation of $182.9 million for the construction and acceleration of new social housing properties across NSW by the Land and Housing Corporation and the claim that this will result in an addition 1300 new social housing dwellings, is not adequate.  This will not produce homes for the more than 100,000 people on the social housing waiting list now or the many more who will need social housing as the economic situation worsens in the next 12 months as a result of Covid. Just $17.3m has been allocated to funding Aboriginal housing for only 53 new homes in regional and metro locations. Included in this allocation is support for Aboriginal employment in the construction and trade industry. The lack of social and affordable Aboriginal housing is severe and will not be solved by this small funding package.   $14.4 million has been allocated to support the Aboriginal Community Housing (ACHP) sector to undertake maintenance, roof restoration/replacements, air conditioning and solar power installation, and construct granny flats and extensions to improve living conditions for Aboriginal people in NSW. Compared to the $100m allocation for sports infrastructure in NSW, these budget allocations are shamefully inadequate in addressing the urgent housing needs of Aboriginal people in NSW. The support for homelessness services in this budget is welcome. The $291.8 million to deliver a range of specialist homelessness services across New South Wales is crucially important given the predicted rise in those experiencing homelessness as a result of the impacts of the pandemic and is testament to the positive work done by peak homelessness and housing bodies throughout the pandemic.  For those hoping to buy a home, the Treasurer’s statements on a potential transition away from the current transfer duty and land tax system should mean that purchasing a home is more affordable for first home buyers into the future. 

Post Covid social and affordable housing recovery

Our post Covid economic recovery should include large scale investment in social and affordable housing.  NSW can fast track building infrastructure that will provide a buffer to the most disadvantaged in the post Covid economic and social downturn by building and renovating homes that people can afford. A state led affordable housing boost will support the construction industry by building urgently needed social and affordable housing, not fast-tracking private developer projects with no positive community outcomes. Social and affordable housing should be funded as urgent infrastructure with government investment providing a safeguard against increasing social disadvantage. We believe that the following initiatives will ensure that housing is affordable, sustainable and available to those who need it and are most impacted by the economic downturn facing us all.  Large scale investment in building social and affordable housing including 30,000 social homes per year for 10 years 100% social and affordable housing on public land - reject Communities Plus   housing formula and audit all available state land and properties No sell off of public land or public housing Councils to be funded to fast track Local Housing Strategies and Affordable Housing Policies to prioritise and maximise affordable housing Mandate 30% affordable housing on private housing developments End no grounds evictions and provide post Covid rent relief funding and continued moratorium on evictions with no arrears debt.  Housing First approach to homelessness with no limit on temporary accommodation and increase in funding for specialist services and support. Zero emissions housing and retrofitting of existing housing  Reform private student accommodation and build-to-rent planning instruments  NSW has a large social and affordable housing deficit with a 10 year waiting list for social housing.  The recent Equity Economics report commissioned by NCOSS,  “A Wave of Disadvantage across NSW: Impact of the Covid-19 Recession” offers some extremely concerning statistics including a 24% increase in families experiencing housing stress and the same increase statewide in individuals experiencing homelessness with some regions in the state experiencing a 40% increase. The Anglicare Rental Affordability Update from August this year indicated that ‘renters are on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic.’ The findings show that a person who is unemployed can only afford 1% percent of rentals – and that’s with the increased Job Seeker payments. With Job Seeker reduced, affordable rental availability will plummet with only 13 rental listings out of 77,000 being affordable.  Everybody’s Home is calling for 500,000 social and affordable homes nationally by 2026 and 5,000 social homes per year for 10 years in NSW. 

Glebe and Eveleigh social housing redevelopments shortchange the public

The government’s announcement of two social housing redevelopments in Glebe and Eveleigh are designed to open up valuable public land to private development rather than to maximize the development of new social and affordable housing says NSW Greens MPs, Jenny Leong and Jamie Parker.

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