At a time when many regional towns are facing unprecedented housing stress, Shelter NSW welcomed the NSW Government’s recent announcement of the Regional Housing Taskforce.
“We are pleased to see the Government paying serious attention to this issue. But we do note that for some towns and communities, housing has been a long-term issue’, noted CEO of Shelter NSW, John Engeler.
Earlier this year Shelter NSW committed itself to better understanding regional communities and the variety of housing issues confronting them.
“In May, we formally engaged Regional Australia Institute (RAI) to undertake a detailed review of every local government area in regional NSW. They’ll be providing us with a detailed picture of the key housing issues – especially as they impact the lowest forty per cent of income earners. We’re funding this engagement with a grant from the NSW Government’s Social Sector Transformation Fund. It’s a great investment”.
“We are delighted to have engaged a highly-regarded research organisation to help us.
In some cases, the issues are like ‘growing pains’, in others an aging population faces challenges in finding well-located, well-designed affordable housing”.
Beyond the research, Shelter NSW will be focused on developing much deeper, local engagement in certain regional centres like Wagga Wagga, Orange and Newcastle.
Shelter NSW aims to ramp up its advocacy for regional communities – drawing on its deep understanding of, and advocacy for, a dramatically increased stock of social, affordable and diverse specialist housing across the state. “Through this project and our work, we hope to share innovative ideas between regions and with the Regional Taskforce. We will advocate to relevant Ministers and local Members of Parliament and generally sharpen our regional focus in future prebudget submissions and budget reviews” said Engeler. He went further, “there will be one key argument that we will make. The private housing market consistently fails low-medium income earners. There’s a lot of focus on changing planning laws and busting red tape – but all the evidence shows that Governments have a big role in directly providing housing”.