NSW government’s $224m social housing package not enough to solve problem, advocates say

NSW government’s $224m social housing package not enough to solve problem, advocates say
  • PublishedSeptember 16, 2023

Social housing advocates have criticised the New South Wales government’s pre-budget housing package, saying it “only scratches the surface” of the state’s growing housing crisis.

Premier Chris Minns this morning announced an allocation of $224 million in Tuesday’s budget towards the social and affordable housing system.

That will be split between $70 million in direct investment in new social housing units and funding for existing social housing and homelessness programs.

Mr Minns said it was the first step in addressing the rising number of people in need of affordable housing.

“When you’ve got a social housing waiting list of over 50,000, the highest-ever recorded, and we have an admitted social housing crisis in New South Wales right across the state, you need to invest in the stock that you already have,” he said.

“We know that there is more to do, both in direct government support but also in the general housing market in New South Wales.”

‘Not enough to solve problem’

a man talking to the media outdoors
Mark Degotardi from the Community Housing Industry Association said more funding was desperately needed.(ABC News)

But the Community Housing Industry Association, which represents social housing providers across the state, said much more was needed.

“While it’s critical these services and programs continue, the funding will not even make a dent in the social housing waitlist, which is 56,000 families and individuals long,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Degotardi said.

“We welcome every drop of funding, but we’ve asked in our budget submission for six billion dollars over four years, which would deliver hundreds-and-thousands of properties which are desperately needed.”

Dr Michael Fotheringham, Managing Director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, agreed the investment was a good step, but wouldn’t make a significant impact on housing waitlists.

“It’s not enough to solve the problem. We need to do more and it needs to be a sustained effort,” he said.

But he said supply chain issues are constraining efforts by any government to address the shortages.

“If they’d put in orders of magnitude more money, we wouldn’t have been able to deliver housing more quickly because there isn’t actually the workforce or the supply chain to do it.”

On a national level, he said there were encouraging moves in terms of social housing delivery, with the Federal Government passing its $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund this week.

“We’re starting to move in the right directions, we’re seeing governments at all levels … taking our housing situation more seriously, as they need to.”

Scrapping EV incentives criticised

In other pre-budget announcements today, the state government confirmed it would scrap incentives for purchasing electric vehicles (EV), opting to divert that money to investing in better charging infrastructure.

That will mean purchasers of EVs will no longer receive a $3,000 rebate, or an exemption from paying stamp duty from the start of next year.

The Electric Vehicle Council criticised the move, saying the incentives were working, but the premier disagreed.

“The evidence that we have from Treasury was that the subsidy was just being added to the sticker price,” Mr Minns said.

“We want people to take EVs, we want them to buy EVs, we think the market is heading that way anyway.

“But anyone who’s got an electric vehicle will tell you the number one challenge is charging stations and that’s exactly where we’re going to put our money.”


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