A once in a generation opportunity to get affordable housing right

Yesterday’s establishment of a broad-ranging inquiry into affordable and social housing is an opportunity to address the affordable housing crisis facing NSW. I welcome the cooperation of Labor and the cross-bench parties to establish a Select Committee to inquire into affordable, social and public housing.

The inquiry, to be chaired by Christian Democratic Party MP Paul Green and with representation from the Government, Opposition and the Greens, has been given broad terms of reference that include supply and demand issues, design approaches and social service integration, and possible recommendations on policy initiatives, planning reforms and other mechanisms to improve the capacity of affordable, social and public housing.

Housing affordability pressures in this state are driving many people further into social and economic disadvantage. The social and public housing systems are unable to meet the needs of people who can’t find shelter in the private market.

The inquiry will be able to draw on the great deal of work being done by researchers, policy bodies and stakeholder groups, and to review projects and initiatives elsewhere.

We need to improve housing policy before the problems get worse. Housing issues have an enormous impact on people’s wellbeing.

Addressing the housing crisis is crucial to prevent the ongoing rise of homelessness and social vulnerability in NSW.

The inquiry will report to Parliament by 9 September 2014.

Last night I gave an adjournment speech on the recent attention being given to housing affordability pressures and the strain on our social housing system, and the need for a housing policy that is visionary in its pursuit of community wellbeing and resilient and cohesive communities. You can read my speech here.

Find out more about the inquiry from the Select Committee’s web page.