News

Joint media release: Disappointing NSW budget fails to invest in public and community housing

24/06/2022

The Tenants' Union of NSW published the following joint media release with NSW Council of Social Services, Domestic Violence NSW, Community Housing Industry Association NSW, Y Foundations, and Homelessness NSW in response to the NSW Budget 23 June 2022

Leo Patterson Ross, CEO Tenants' Union of NSW:

"Right now, renters are struggling in the face of soaring rents, high energy bills, and the costs – including the high moving costs – that come with the persistent insecurity that has been allowed to become a feature of renting your home in NSW. There are hundreds of thousands of renting households currently living with significant financial and emotional stress who are crying out for support from their government.

Lack of investment in public and community housing has a flow-through impact on those in the private rental market. While the waiting list stays at many years long, we also know the waiting list doesn’t reflect the extent of need in the community.”

Housing and Homelessness peaks in uproar at lack of funding for safe, accessible, and affordable housing for low-income households in the NSW State Budget

Yesterday’s 2022-23 NSW State Budget announcement has overlooked years of advocacy from the sector for greater state investment in affordable and social housing, committing to only 320 dwellings per year instead of the call for a minimum of 5000 per year.

NSW is experiencing a housing crisis that has only been exacerbated since COVID-19, bushfires and the recent floods, with specialist housing and homelessness services struggling to keep up with increasing demand.

“This Budget has failed to deliver any significant investment in social and affordable housing or any hope for more than 50,000 families on the social housing waitlist,” said Caitlin McDowell, Head of Policy at CHIA NSW. “This Budget offers a range of new initiatives geared towards prospective home-owners, but the NSW Government seems to have forgotten about the third of their population who are renters, many struggling just to keep a roof over their heads,” said Ms McDowell.

“It is frankly disgraceful that in NSW we have around 50,000 households on the social housing waiting list and waiting times of up to 10 years and this Budget doesn’t make a dent in that – it simply fails to make any significant investment into new social and affordable housing,” said Joanna Quilty, CEO of the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS).

There was also no notable investment to support the significant amount of renters in NSW. As higher demand for rental accommodation is met with a shortage in properties and increased rent, it is more difficult for families in need to find safe and affordable housing.

“Good governments have budgets that show secure housing includes greater protection for the growing number of precarious renters - often now in the regions - increasingly paying way too much of their low incomes in poorly located, energy-hungry dwellings.,” We also need more affordable, accessible and efficient rental housing for our essential workers – the cleaners, check-out operators and carers who kept us safe, fed and watered during COVID.”says CEO of Shelter NSW, John Engeler. He comments further that; “This budget fails the ‘innovative leadership test’ which includes retaining, maintaining, and growing existing public housing to include 5,000 new properties each year. We also need more affordable, accessible and efficient rental housing for our essential workers – the cleaners, check-out operators and carers who kept us safe, fed and watered during COVID.” 

"Right now, renters are struggling in the face of soaring rents, high energy bills, and the costs – including the high moving costs – that come with the persistent insecurity that has been allowed to become a feature of renting your home in NSW. There are hundreds of thousands of renting households currently living with significant financial and emotional stress who are crying out for support from their government,” said Leo Patterson Ross, CEO, Tenants’ Union of NSW. “Lack of investment in public and community housing has a flow-through impact on those in the private rental market. While the waiting list stays at many years long, we also know the waiting list doesn’t reflect the extent of need in the community.”

Family and domestic violence is the main reason women and children leave their homes in Australia, with 42% of people seeking help from specialist homelessness services in 2020 and 2021 having experienced domestic and family violence.

“With domestic violence the lead cause of housing and homelessness for women and children, we expect more action from our state government to invest in solutions,” says Elise Phillips, Interim CEO, Domestic Violence NSW. “For people escaping domestic violence, a safe home is the most important first step to ensure safety from harm for not only the victim, but also for the children in the family,”

Additionally, the budget does not include any funding measure for children or young people experiencing homelessness, with no investment for medium-term or transitional housing or youth-specific social housing. 

“The NSW government has yet again failed our most vulnerable young people in this year’s budget, it is another missed opportunity to support homeless children and young people. Without new funding for affordable, youth-specific housing, young people have nowhere to go. This will only perpetuate their cycle in and out of homelessness,” said Pam Barker, CEO of Yfoundations. 

 

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