As the spokesperson on Housing and Homelessness, Jan has lodged The Greens NSW Submission to the NSW Legislative Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee Inquiry into the Management of NSW Public Housing Maintenance Contracts. The submission was produced in consultation with our Housing Working Group and elected Greens representatives who have worked to support public housing tenants in their community when faced with maintenance issues and related concerns.
The submission highlights the following key points:
- Housing is an important contributor to the wellbeing of people, households and society
- Poor maintenance of public housing is harming tenants’ wellbeing
- Maintenance funding shortfalls and the absence of strategies for managing the public housing portfolio have undermined the capacity, quality and sustainability of NSW public housing
- Maintenance policies and processes are a common source of tenant frustration, dissatisfaction and complaints
It makes the following recommendations:
- That the NSW Government acknowledge that the extent of the housing crisis and its impact on the wellbeing of individuals, households and society requires urgent action across all levels of government to deliver solutions across the full continuum of the housing system.
- That the Government acknowledges the importance of housing quality and state of repair to the wellbeing of tenants and ensure Housing NSW and Land and Housing Corporation policies about their obligations as landlord and property manager incorporate supporting and promoting tenants’ wellbeing as a key obligation.
- That the Government sets strong, clear targets for improvement in the proportion of public and Aboriginal housing dwellings that are of acceptable standard and directs sufficient investment and action to maintenance and upgrades for all dwellings that are not of acceptable standard.
- That the Government outlines a timeline and a detailed plan to ensure that in future they will fully comply with all of their statutory obligations and standing as a model litigant with respect to maintenance and repairs of public housing.
- That the Government finalises and releases its Asset Portfolio Strategy, which was originally due to be completed by the end of 2013, as a matter of urgency.
- That the Government, in recognition of the ongoing maintenance shortfall in the LAHC budget, prioritises the allocation of sufficient funding to clear the backlog and ensure public housing stock is of an appropriate standard to ensure the wellbeing of tenants and prevent further delays in maintenance or sales of social housing properties to pay for maintenance.
- That the Government ensure that any new maintenance policies, processes and contractual arrangements are carefully designed and receive continual evaluation to ensure that they:
- are responsive to tenants’ needs and prioritise issues that affect the health and wellbeing of tenants, and
- maximise value for money and efficiency while ensuring the quality and timeliness of work.