Climate-ready housing – Make Insulation Sexy Again, and the looming insurance crisis

It was great to hear from a variety of members at the late May Member’s forum on climate-ready housing. In break out rooms, we were able to hear from people with lived experience in insecure, inappropriate housing and the perpetual curse of mould that has taken hold across most of the State due to months of heavy rain and flooding.

Shelter NSW Policy Officer, Kayla Clanchy, presents to the members forum on climate-ready housing.

One recurrent theme raised by members was about how the planning system deals mostly with ensuring new developments are up to scratch (bearing in mind the need to resurrect the Design & Place SEPP), but there is no concerted effort to mandate retrofitting requirements for existing housing stock. The point was rightly made that retrofitting public housing – where only one landlord is involved across a huge footprint of properties – with ceiling, floor, and wall insulation as part of periodic maintenance schedules would send a strong message to other social housing providers and the private rental market more generally. One of our speakers, Thomas Chailloux from PIAC, reiterated the need for good insulation, window treatments, and draught proofing to be prioritised before getting too caught up in the sex appeal of rooftop solar panels.

We also dipped our toes into the topic of climate-associated insurance risks, and how a recent report by the Climate Council found 1 in 25 properties will be effectively ‘uninsurable’ by 2030 – eight years from now! Sensible lending practices, although much needed, will drive sociospatial inequality in who can avoid/flee high-risk climate disaster locations and who cannot, and this is where Shelter and our members are most concerned for low-income households and renters.

We would like to thank all Shelter NSW Members who participated in this meeting. It was great to see some lively conversation in the break-out rooms and some very thoughtful questions posed!

We will be using what we heard in this meeting to inform our advocacy going forward, so if you are a member and have further questions, ideas or comments, please feel free to reach out via this email.
If you are not yet a member but interested in becoming one and attending future meetings, you can apply here.

We look forward to seeing you all at our next members meeting in August!