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.
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.
Today I called on the Premier and Minister Gareth Ward MP (Families, Communities and Disability), Melinda Pavey MP (Water, Property and Housing) and Kevin Anderson MP (Better Regulation and Innovation) to take urgent steps to ensure that people in NSW have a safe, secure, affordable and habitable place to live - from renters to public and social housing tenants and those who are homeless. At the top of the list was our call for a Moratorium on any evictions of rental tenants during this period.
Read or download the full letter here.
Jenny Leong MP, Greens Member for Newtown has asked the Minister for Families and Communities to reassure residents of public housing in Redfern that their safety is assured following a recent fire.Read more
October 2018 - South Sydney Herald column
There’s a lot going on right now in our local community when it comes to infrastructure, but not in a good way! The NSW Liberals and their big business mates seem hell bent on taking all they can from our neighbourhoods, and much less interested in giving us anything we actually need in return.
Our community is vibrant, caring and creative. We value our public housing, our public schools, our public parks, our public transport. We recognise the need for significant investment in public services, including healthcare – and especially mental health support. We know that to end the housing crisis we will need to invest in more public, social and affordable housing. We know that privatisation and leaving it to the market doesn’t lead to better outcomes or address inequality.Read more
Greens NSW Housing spokesperson, Jenny Leong MP has condemned the Minister for Family and Community Services and Social Housing, Pru Goward for pushing through legislation which will force unfair bonds and conditions on public housing tenants while allowing for mandatory evictions.
“This latest punitive attack on public housing tenants comes right in the middle of Homelessness Week and means that some public housing tenants will end up homeless and on the street,” she said.Read more
Responding to the latest reporting today on the NSW Government’s Local Allocation Strategy which shows that hundreds of innocent people may be excluded from accessing public housing in the inner city, Greens NSW Housing and Homelessness spokesperson Jenny Leong has questioned the motives of such a move.
“Given the recent fudging of the public housing waiting list numbers by the department, we are calling on the Minister for Family and Community Services to immediately reassure the public that this latest ‘strategy’ isn’t a cynical ploy to further reduce the waiting list without actually housing anyone.Read more
The Greens today opposed the Berejiklian Government's bill to give a massive tax handout to developers, and to instead put the revenue into public housing. Read her speech below: