Throughout the pandemic we’ve become quite used to focusing on borders and Australia’s states – whether they’re ‘open’ or ‘closed’ or on the quality of their health response. At Shelter NSW we’re not immune to that, but we do admit to being a bit more focused on the relative responses to the housing crisis across the country. On any measure, NSW is being left behind.
While we’re always happy to see the NSW Government make announcements like the expansion of the critical Together Home program or the improved tenant access to financial support packages we are acutely aware that the truly big challenges are being avoided.
According to this Fifth Estate article by Hal Pawson, citing a substantial report by the UNSW City Futures Research Centre (co-sponsored by Shelter NSW) about the Covid-19 rental housing and homelessness impacts, the steadfast refusal of the Commonwealth Government to support a large social housing economic stimulus program has been met inconsistently across the country by state governments. Sadly, NSW is conspicuous by its absence in the list of large-scale state government responses.
After factoring in Government plans to build, demolish, buy or sell over just the next three years, Pawson estimates NSW will only deliver a net gain of 400 social housing dwellings over this period. This stands in stark contrast to 8300 in Victoria and 4400 in Queensland and of course the NSW social housing waiting list of 51,395 approved applications (as at June 30, 2020).
In 2022 we will redouble our efforts to see meaningful action to address this obvious shortfall.