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.
The NSW Government has announced plans to redevelop and expand the social housing dwellings on Explorer Street and Aurora Place in South Eveleigh.
Jenny Leong MP issued a media release regarding this announcement and commented,
"As the impact of the pandemic is growing daily, we need to ask why the NSW Liberal National government is still selling us all short by planning to privatise 70% of these redevelopments which are on valuable public land.
We are holding a community meeting on Tuesday 8th December from 6pm - 7pm
We are keen to hear your thoughts on this proposal and to share our concerns about the planned redevelopment.
Register here to attend this Zoom community meeting.
Details of this proposal and links to the Land and Housing Corporation information webinars as well as feedback options can be found here.
We have been informed by the Land and Housing Corporation that:
- the planning process will take some two years, after which residents will be given at least 6 months notice of any requirements to relocate temporarily.
- that all current residents will have the right to return to live on this site in the proposed redeveloped dwellings.
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.
Greens Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong MP has today called on the NSW Government to support Aboriginal specific affordable housing in Redfern and Waterloo.
The Redfern Waterloo Alliance launched their campaign today seeking action from the NSW government on the provision of and clear targets for Aboriginal affordable housing in the Redfern Waterloo area. Greens Member for Newtown and Housing and Homelessness spokesperson, Jenny Leong MP, and Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Australian Greens spokesperson on Housing, welcomed the launch – and offered their commitment to the demands of the campaign.
Jenny Leong MP, Member for Newtown and NSW Greens spokesperson on Housing and Homelessness says,
“I fully support this important campaign calling for real action and the delivery of affordable housing for Aboriginal people living in the Redfern and Waterloo area.
“Redfern and Waterloo sit on Gadigal land, it is land that was never ceded – and it is long overdue that the NSW Government gave priority to ensuring that Aboriginal housing sits at the heart of our inner city community – we will be doing everything we can to ensure this campaign succeeds.”
Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Australian Greens spokesperson on Housing says,
“Aboriginal communities have longstanding roots in Redfern and Waterloo, and the right to self-determination. It is critical that Aboriginal people and their organisations lead efforts to improve and expand housing in these communities.
“For too long, social housing that meets the needs of communities simply hasn’t been sufficiently provided. It’s time to change that.
“The Greens give our full and enthusiastic support to the Redfern Waterloo Alliance of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and Allies for this important campaign,” she said.
We are pleased to support the first ever e-petition in the NSW Parliament - a petition to overturn the ban on pets in strata buildings. People love their pets. In fact, around 63% of Australian households own a pet. However, for most people who live in a rental home, or in a strata building there are draconian rules banning pets even when they have no impact on neighbours. This makes it extremely difficult for households with pets to find a new home when they need it.Read more
Greens Member for Newtown, Jenny Leong has called for a drastic investment in public, social and affordable housing to address the homelessness crisis is NSW.Read more
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.
These are very difficult times for many people, especially for those living in high-rise housing in our inner city. Our office is working hard to ensure that during this time, all public housing buildings across NSW are kept clean and safe for all residents, NSW Health leads any emergency response plans and procedures if there is a COVID-19 cluster in a public housing tower and most importantly, that the dignity and rights of public housing tenants are protected.