The NSW Government must significantly expand public and affordable housing stock within the inner city if their 10 year social housing strategy is to succeed. As a public housing tenant, I welcome the announcement of increased public housing stock but am concerned the Baird Government’s Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW strategy will fall short of its goals.
With over 60 000 people on the public housing waiting list, reform of government housing policy is long overdue. The Government must ensure that this is delivered in a manner that will support our communities now and into the future.
I am deeply concerned that the sale of public housing assets to the private sector places public housing tenants in a vulnerable position. The job of developers is to maximise their profits. We need strong safeguards in place to ensure that the number of public housing units delivered are not reduced in number or size through the planning process.
I want to see a stronger focus from this Government on inner city public and affordable housing. This strategy demonstrates that the Government understands the risks of concentrating disadvantage in one area. If they are really serious about this they must ensure that disadvantaged people are supported to live in the inner city and not just the outskirts on Sydney. This Government’s destruction of the Millers Point community leaves me in doubt of their commitment.
I am enthusiastic about the commitment to removing disincentives for public housing tenants to work. However, we have seen in the past the Liberal/National Party’s ideological commitment to punishing those who are unable to find work. Their emphasis on supporting tenants to transition out of public housing is clearly focussed on single mothers. I sincerely hope these processes are government by evidence based policy and not trumped by ideology.
Huge waiting lists, maintenance backlogs and previous public housing sell offs have left tenants with little trust in Government. Many are afraid to speak out in fear of retribution. It is critical we rebuild that trust through policy that puts the wellbeing of tenants at the centre.