Residential Parks Open Data Challenge Update

The Residential (Land Lease) Communities Bill 2013 passed the New South Wales Legislative Council on Nov 12, 2013. You can access the debate here.

We want to make it clear that even though the Bill has passed through NSW Parliament, we are still welcoming participation and input on the NSW Legislation Open Data Challenge. Please keep sending in photos, stories, data and suggestions for the project.

With the support of the Labor Party, Christian Democrats and the Shooters and Fishers Party we were able to establish an inquiry looking at social and affordable housing in NSW. We would encourage you to make submissions to this inquiry. The terms of reference for the inquiry are here.

We have started analyzing the data and have pulled together a short Prezi presentation which can be found below. This is very much a work in progress and we will update it more as we receive more information.


Residential Parks (DraftNov15)

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.

NSW Legislation Open Data Creative Challenge

Greens MP and Housing & Arts spokesperson Jan Barham is inviting graphic designers, creative artists, data analysts, policy wonks, geospatial information system (GIS) specialists, residential park residents and ‘open/public data’ aficionados to participate in a New South Wales Legislation Open Data Challenge.

Jan is seeking data analysis, apps, data visualisations, multimedia presentations and open source data collection to help NSW politicians and communities get a more informed picture of the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Bill 2013. With better information we can hopefully get an improved policy and legislation outcome for all residents of residential parks in NSW.


The NSW Government has recently introduced the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Bill 2013[1]. The Bill reforms the way caravan parks and manufactured home estates are managed and governed in NSW.

These parks are not just places for tourists and campers having a week away on NSW’s beautiful coast or regional towns. Caravan parks (also known as residential parks) are home to approximately 33,000 permanent residents. In regional and rural communities residential parks play an important part in the affordable housing mix. For a more detailed background on the legislation please the material below.

Why an Open Data Challenge?

Often governments make important policy decisions that affect the everyday lives of citizens without sufficient evidence or information. In other instances, government agencies maintain a monopoly over what really should be public information.  

The aim of this Open Data Challenge is to involve people in the review of laws and public policy by analysing open/publicly available data in innovative ways and to create data visualisations that help tell important stories in a more accessible way. We believe an online community from all parts of NSW and potentially Australia can make an important contribution to public policy through such an initiative.

In this specific circumstance, the aim is to achieve greater insight into the demographic profile of residential park residents, a geospatial understanding of residential parks and a data rich perspective on park operation.

Submissions and information provided as part of the Open Data Challenge will be presented to the NSW Press Gallery during debate on the legislation and posted on Jan’s website. All works will be fully attributed to authors/participants and we will tweet your contribution to our networks. This is a great opportunity to showcase your open data collection, design, analysis or programming skills and promote your work.

How to Participate

  1. Start by downloading the existing data resources on Jan’s website (see below) and review the suggested approaches, but feel free to think outside the square.
  2. Take a look at other open/public data collection and data visualisation projects for further ideas.
  3. Send your data visualisations, apps, designs or open data analysis work to with your full details and a brief explanation of how you put your work together. Please submit all work before Nov 21, 2013 for inclusion in the project.
  4. We will be using the twitter hashtag #nswdatachallenge to exchange ideas, have Q&A, provide updates on the progress of legislation and share project work.

Some suggested projects include:

  • Keyword analysis of Parliamentary Speeches, Ministerial Press Releases and Department of Fair Trading material on the legislation and historical amendments to the Residential Parks Act 1998.
  • GIS and location analysis involving plotting of residential parks and other location information such as crown land reserves, service mapping, house price rises by postcode or population movements for example.
  • Data visualisations, graphs or multimedia including images of caravan parks in NSW
  • Data analysis and graphics using NSW Government data, open source data or ABS data (ABS Table Builder) exploring resident and caravan park demographics. This might include using ABS data to examine demographics and parks communities.
  • Review and analysis of Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal data on Residential Parks cases.
  • Social media network analysis and visualisation of key stakeholders using programs such as Gelphi.

Want further information about the Open Data Challenge?

If you want to discuss your project/contribution with us or seek clarification on the type of work we want to encourage, please feel free to contact us at, tweet us at @janbarham, call us on (02) 9230 2204 or use the twitter hashtag #nswdatachallenge.


Click here for the New South Wales Minister for Fair Trading’s 2nd Reading on the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Bill 2013.

Click here for the Residential (Land Lease) Communities Bill 2013 .

Click here for a breakdown by year of Residential Park matters taken on the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribubal (CTTT). Park and estate residents and managers can take disputes to the CTTT to resolve issues such as contract breaches, rent increases  or rental bonds to name a few. The data is taken from CTTT annual reports which can be accessed here.

Click here for a KML file which includes location information on parks taken from the NSW Residential Parks Register.To open the KML file use a GIS program or Google Earth which will plot the various park locations in NSW.

Click here for a excel spreadsheet of residential parks listed by Local Government Area (LGA). Included in the spreadsheet is LGA population, rate of park presence per population, Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA). Many more data sets could be added using Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) resources.

Submissions on the draft exposure Bill by key stakeholders – ARPRA (Affiliated Residential Park Residents Association NSW) and Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association.

Visit the NSW Open Data Site and search data by NSW Government Department

Image credit:

Above: Twofold Bay Beach Caravan Park CC-BY-NC-ND by KMJPhotography (TillyDog)

Front page: Terrigal Haven Caravan Park CC-BY-NC by Gostalgia: Local history from Gosford Library, from the collection of the late Doug and Margaret Parton of Toukley.

3636 children under 12 are homeless in NSW. They deserve a dedicated Housing Minister

This week I introduced a motion highlighting the pressing challenges of social housing provision and homelessness in NSW and called for a dedicated Housing Minister. Since 1919 New South Wales has always had a Housing Minister but not under this government.

Some of New South Wales’ longest serving Housing Ministers

Who is this man??

Who is this?

And this man??

What about this man? 

Who is this?

My motion below is trying to encourage the New South Wales Liberal and National Government to appoint a dedicated Housing Minister.

Ms Barham to move—

1. That the House notes that:
(a) every Australian State and Territory Government has a Minister for Housing,
(b) New South Wales Governments of all political persuasions have historically recognised the importance of having a Minister for Housing,

(c) from 1919, when David Robert Hall was the Minister for Housing in the William Holman Government, to 2011, when the Honourable Francesco Terenzini MP was the  Minister for Housing in the Keneally Government, New South Wales has always had a Minister for Housing,

(d) a recent Auditor-General Report highlighted that the New South Wales social housing portfolio only meets approximately 44 per cent of need, with over 55,000 applicants of the social housing waiting list, which may increase to 86,000 by 2016,

(e) 28,191 people are experiencing homelessness in New South Wales, with children under 12 years making up 12.9 per cent of the total number, and

(f) the Productivity Commission in its July 2013 report entitled “Deep and Persistent  Disadvantage in Australia” acknowledged that “almost a quarter of public housing tenants experience deep and persistent social exclusion” and that public housing tenants represent over a fifth of all those who are deeply and persistently disadvantaged.

2. That this House calls upon the Government to immediately appoint a Government member as New South Wales Minister for Housing and Homelessness to address the pressing challenges critical to the health and wellbeing of the people of New South Wales.

Submission to campaign

As many of you may be aware, consultations are currently taking place across Australia about possible amendments to the Australian Constitution to officially recognise Indigenous members of our community and their rich culture and history. The consultations are being carried out by the Commonwealth Government’s Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. A website has been established to assist with the consultation process at
On behalf of the NSW Greens, Jan has provided a submission to the process strongly supporting the formal recognition of Aboritinal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in our National Constitution.
 Read Jan’s submission below:

Indigenous Constitutional Recognition Submission

Greens NSW Indigenous policy

Mr Ian Cohen MLC – Second Reading Speech to the Legislative Council of the NSW Parliament regarding Constitution Amendment (Recognition of Aboriginal People) Bill 2010

What is Community Resilience?

“Community” is defined as a group of people living in the same locality, and community resilience is about how well that group of people is capable of withstanding and absorbing the challenges of change and/or crisis. In recent times communities have been increasingly exposed to the challenges of crisis. We have seen droughts, fires and floods in our country and, in nearby regions, the impact of earthquakes and tsunamis. It is anticipated with the impacts of climate change there will be additional risk of exposure to emergency situations.

The media have brought into our homes and lives the images of the impacts associated with the disasters and that has reminded us of the importance of community connection and engagement as mechanisms to withstand the dramatic impact of these events. Many of the reports of affected communities remind us of the courage and preparedness of people to help others and this is commendable. But we have also been made aware of the lack of connection and knowledge of our local environments that have determined the ability to support and help those in need and in some cases the fatal consequences of the lack of local connection and community cohesion.

Federal and State governments are now focusing considerable resources on preparing communities for crisis. The term “community resilience” is being used to unite communities in preparing for the likely outcome of crisis. Much has been learnt from disaster management both here and overseas and there are some key understandings of how society can ensure it is capable of withstanding the impacts of disasters. Community development and resilience is now a portfolio area that The Greens New South Wales have adopted and I am pleased to provide a focus in relation to the preparedness of communities.

I intend to present examples of positive community projects that contribute to building social inclusion and cohesion and often involve recreation and cultural engagement. These programs most often involve volunteer participation and encourage diverse groups of people to connect and network under a common interest. It is well documented that social connections and networks are a determinant of community resilience. The principal of resourcing and supporting social connections has an important role in enhancing quality of life in the immediate as well as preparing society to withstand the possibility of disaster and crisis.

The unintended but associated product of social and cultural gathering is the introduction of diverse groups of people to provide them with the necessary connections. Governments collect and collate significant amounts of information that identify the inequities and vulnerabilities that exist in society. The focus in research and emergency management fields promotes community vulnerability mapping as a tool to define communities of high risk or social vulnerability. Once these groups or geographical areas are identified there is potential to target resources to these groups to improve not only their quality of life but also their capacity to be prepared for any crisis. Governments can provide a range of programs to improve community involvement and participation.

I acknowledge the initiatives by the New South Wales Government to support and resource communities to overcome vulnerability. The Community Builders program has provided at-risk groups access to funds for the delivery of programs and projects with an identified disadvantage that can be addressed or have the potential for increasing the social capital of a group. The importance of social connection cannot be overlooked in the strengthening of social networks to enhance resilience. The degree of connection—be it family, friends, social, education or other organisations—is an important source of information, advice and assistance. Government at all levels has an important role in supporting communities to connect and engage in the good times so that they are empowered and informed to respond when risks or disasters are impending or present.

The assistance by government to enhance community involvement should be viewed as an essential pathway to building strong and resilient communities that are able to cope and withstand disaster, crisis and change that challenge the day-to-day functioning of society. The goal to empower and assist communities requires a respect for localised resilience. To build social capital and strong community social structures will require the support of government. Programs that unite community across social and cultural divides are often those that do engage diverse groups of people in positive activities such as landcare, sport, book clubs, community gardens, soup kitchens and other forms of volunteering.

There is a responsibility to prepare the community so that they are able to respond to a potential crisis. Government at all levels can make the process of community development, resilience and preparedness for disaster and crisis more effective by recognising the important role of community projects that build connections and improve quality of life. It is these projects that will enhance in the present and build the strength and capacity for community to withstand and cope with change and crisis if needed in the future.

Cancer Council Biggest Morning Tea

Cancer Council CEO, Dr Andrew Penman

Cancer Council Biggest Morning Tea was held at Parliament House to raise awareness and funds. I spoke on behalf of The Greens along with the Health Minister Kevin Humphries and Leader of the Opposition John Robertson. The organisation offers essential support to cancer patients, family and friends as well as community education and research.

Bangalow Billy Cart Derby

After an intense two weeks of parliament I was able to spend time in my community on the weekend and participate in two volunteer events. One was tree planting at a new sports and cultural complex site in Byron Bay, where over 80 people turned to plant 2,000 trees. The other event was the community organised Bangalow Billy Cart Derby. This is an event in its 10th year and encourages whole of shire involvement and brings together all ages and all interests; an example of a great community resilience project.

This is a great example of a community resilience project. Sometimes the events that bring diverse people together serves to create an important environment for local communities to meet and engage with people they might not otherwise find themselves agreeing with or having much in common. It’s always good to set aside difference and enjoy a common sharing of community spirit. It’s these positive events that can strengthen communities and build a sense of community that can withstand the challenges and difficulties. This is the key to community resilience.