The NSW government released a discussion paper in May 2020 on a Housing Strategy for NSW. Jenny Leong MP, NSW Greens spokesperson on Housing and Jamie Parker MP, NSW Greens spokesperson on Planning made a submission on behalf of the NSW Greens. The following is an extract from this submission.
As a matter of protocol and a mark of respect, we acknowledge it always was and always will be Aboriginal land and pay our respects to Aboriginal elders past, present and emerging.
We also submit that ‘A Housing Strategy for NSW’ must prioritise ensuring Aboriginal housing needs are met along the housing continuum. This means resourcing Aboriginal-led homelessness services, supporting Aboriginal-led community housing providers, pro-actively involving Aboriginal-led organisations in the development and implementation of this strategy and recognising through reparation that the land that is the focus of this strategy is stolen land that was never ceded.
- Incorporate plans for genuine consultation and input from Aboriginal-led organisations both in the development and implementation of the NSW Housing Strategy
- Recognise the need for reparations given that the land all of this housing will be delivered on is stolen land
- Ensure adequate resourcing and support for Aboriginal-led homelessness and housing services as well as community housing providers
- Identify housing as a key component of the State’s infrastructure priorities
- Establish an integrated Housing portfolio in NSW with a single Minister who has responsibility across private, public, community and rental housing areas, combined with the establishment of a Housing Ombudsman
- Incorporate specific actions to progress protections for renters and advance rental reforms which enable security of tenure, affordability and habitability for renters in to the NSW Housing Strategy
- Commit to large scale government development and provision of public, social and affordable housing as housing options for a range of tenants with varying incomes
- Mandate 30% affordable housing in new private rental housing developments
- Commit to ending homelessness and ensure there are no exits to homelessness from state institutions or as a result of family violence or economic disadvantage
- Recognise the climate crisis as a key driver for strong action in the housing strategy and include actions to progress zero emissions sustainable housing and large scale retrofitting of existing homes.
The Greens NSW welcome the opportunity to provide comments on ‘A Housing Strategy for NSW Discussion Paper’ of May 2020. We support a unified and holistic vision for housing in NSW for the next 20 years which will respond effectively to the changing requirements of a diverse and growing population in a period of extreme economic and environmental upheaval.
We note with concern that this discussion paper does not adequately address the urgent challenges and issues that individuals, communities and governments are now facing as a result of the deepening social and economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We see the housing system as it stands as a key driver of inequality, especially in major metropolitan areas but also across regional centres where poverty and wealth are intrinsically tied to access to housing. This will only worsen in the coming years if key assumptions about the role and purpose of housing as shelter, rather than as a financial asset, are not interrogated and challenged.
The NSW Housing Strategy must address the existing and emerging large scale housing affordability crisis in NSW as a priority. Planning for housing for the next 20 years must be based on a new paradigm which recognises that existing housing stress, plus rising rates of unemployment and economic downturn requires a radical new approach. Foremost in this approach is that the provision of social housing is seen as essential government infrastructure.
The strategy must also address the issue of severe climate impacts with extreme weather events, higher temperatures and a reduction in the availability of fresh water as discussed in this submission.