Affordable Housing Discussion in Parliament

Read our contribution to the affordable housing discussion in parliament.


Ms JENNY LEONG ( Newtown ) ( 16:47 :58 ): By leave: On behalf of The Greens, I contribute to this petition debate on affordable housing. I acknowledge my colleagues in the Chamber, Jamie Parker and Tamara Smith. The Greens are committed to establishing that housing be a human right. We recognise that we should approach the issue of housing in the same way that we approach health care and other services, which is to recognise that all people have a right to live somewhere they call home. We recognise that successive New South Wales governments—for six years of the present Government and 16 years of the previous Labor Government—have talked about their willingness to address the housing affordability crisis. But to put it in perspective, it has been a while since either of them have acted.

It is a credit to the community that has enabled this petition debate today and that has pushed for the need for inclusionary zoning and the setting of percentage targets. I can put our percentage out there as 30 per cent. We are seeing here a bidding war on the percentages, and that is a true sign of a community campaign that is moving in the right direction. People are now talking about the percentages they can offer. They have accepted the petitioners' commitment to seeing affordable housing targets set in new developments as a way to address the housing affordability crisis. I give credit to the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Sydney Alliance, and to all the different groups that have been pushing for those targets. It is because of their strong community campaign that we now see this percentage bidding war. They must continue those efforts. The Greens will stand with them to make sure that whoever is in government takes action to make sure that we see these kinds of targets delivered for affordable housing.

It would be remiss of us to be talking about affordable housing in this place if we did not acknowledge the tents just outside Parliament House at the top of Martin Place. It is unacceptable and shameful that members of the Government, who have the ability to act to address homelessness, have walked past the tents and are meeting with police to move people on rather than providing those people with the affordable housing they need. Those people need to be offered permanent housing and community support and social support services. I am sure everybody in the gallery would agree. It is shameful that Government members have sat in the Chamber this week and have failed to act on the blight that is just outside this place—not because people should not be able to protest and sleep rough in Martin Place if they have no choice, but because the Government has failed to act to address homelessness. Addressing housing affordability is a key way to reduce homelessness in our city.


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