Greens welcome Shelter NSW proposals to address housing affordability and wellbeing

Jan Barham, Greens MP and Housing spokesperson, has welcomed Shelter NSW’s 2016 budget proposals as a reminder to Government that urgent and comprehensive action is needed on housing.

“Addressing the housing crisis in NSW requires a coordinated approach from the Government that addresses all of the factors affecting general housing affordability for buyers and renters, while ensuring the wellbeing of those who are most vulnerable to gaps in our housing system,” Ms Barham said.

“A long-term boost in social and affordable housing is essential to ensure that people on low and moderate incomes will have the opportunity to live in housing that is suited to their needs and close to their essential work and educational opportunities.

“The Government’s proposed Social and Affordable Housing Fund to deliver $1 billion of new supply is a welcome start but won’t be enough to produce the necessary, enduring growth in affordable housing.

“These proposals from Shelter NSW, including a 10-year social housing boost, 15% affordable housing requirements in all high density developments and developer contributions to ensure a share of the windfalls from rezoning are invested back into affordable housing, offer a pathway to deliver significant growth in social and affordable housing for years to come.

“Reforms to taxation and tenancy laws are also needed to reconfigure the housing system from being driven by speculative investment to being focused on the importance of everyone having a secure home.

“The proposal to broaden the base of land tax would promote the efficient use of our available property and could allow a transition away from stamp duty, which is inefficient and a disincentive to downsizing.

“Removing “no cause” evictions as part of the current review of tenancy laws would provide renters with greater security of tenure and improved wellbeing.

“The proposals also identify key investments that are needed to address areas of housing disadvantage and inequity, including through ensuring homelessness services can reach all people in need, delivering the housing for people with disability that will not be provided through the NDIS, and expanding the capacity of the Aboriginal housing sector.”

Ms Barham noted that the NSW Government had still failed to respond to a comprehensive inquiry into social, public and affordable housing whose recommendations were delivered in September 2014.

“The Government has missed multiple deadlines to develop and deliver the housing policies they need, and our parliamentary inquiry handed them a blueprint for many of the changes that are required.

“I welcome the housing sector’s ongoing efforts to show the NSW Government what can and must be done, and the Greens urge the Government to get serious about delivering a coordinated plan that addresses all of the factors undermining housing affordability in New South Wales,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

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Final Report of the Inquiry into Social, Public and Affordable Housing