The Guardian • Issue #2072

NSW budget ‘miserly’ on housing

The 2023 NSW budget is a massive disappointment on housing.

The NSW government’s miserly and inadequate approach to the housing crisis has dashed the hopes built up by the promises of Housing Minister Rose Jackson of a more generous approach to housing provision.

After 11 years of compassion-free LNP  government, some improvement was expected. Instead, we have little more than crumbs with the state government offering no social housing and only 1409 affordable homes over the next 16 years – fewer than 100 a year.

This is a shameful response to the appalling crisis so many NSW families are facing.

The budget claims that NSW is “permanently expanding the number of social housing dwellings by around 1,500 through the $610.1 million Commonwealth social housing accelerator program.”

That funding is NSW’s portion of the $2 billion extra that Prime Minister Albanese announced earlier in the year to get his housing fund through the Senate. There has not been any matching increase in state funding.

The NSW government is engaged in cost-shifting by taking advantage of Commonwealth spending in the same area to cut back their funding on social housing to almost nothing.

In an ABC interview Premier Minns underlined his government’s refusal to take responsibility for dealing with the crisis when he said: “The way we are going to ease the housing crisis in NSW is with the private sector.”

The centrepiece of the NSW budget is a $2.2 billion Housing and Infrastructure Plan as the state government aims to address the housing crisis by prioritising funding for infrastructure to underpin private housing developments.

Premier Minns says he has increased the proportion of public housing in the planned Waterloo redevelopment to 50 per cent, up the from LNP’s promised 30 per cent. This boast is contemptible because the existing Waterloo estate is 100 per cent public housing.

When the LNP ran the NSW government, maintenance of housing stock fell into arrears. An Auditor General’s report exposed a $300 million shortfall in maintenance of public housing. Despite this, the Labor government’s budget only allocates a miserly $30 million for maintenance this year.

With thousands sleeping rough, couch surfing, and sleeping in cars, and thousands more facing insecure and inadequate housing, leaving the housing crisis to the profit-driven private sector and the Commonwealth is simply not acceptable.

We need, and we demand far more from the NSW government.

Defend and extend public housing!

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