The NSW Treasury is currently preparing for the next state budget (2022-2023). No doubt there will be a great many difficult choices and trade-offs made.
Shelter NSW has recently taken the opportunity to make a formal submission to Treasury – available here for your information.
Our submission does recognise the NSW Government’s early action in the pandemic to support particularly vulnerable groups however, our overriding observation as we enter 2022 is one of concern.
In 2022-23, NSW faces an interrupted and uncertain economic recovery with rising housing costs contributing to cost-of-living concerns for many, but especially for lower income households.
Our view is that NSW is not well-placed to respond to the precarious economic conditions of the mid-term, let alone the longer-term trends of an aging population and income/wealth inequity. Responses by Government and a strained community and social sector are failing to keep up with current demand.
NSW requires the following measures. Without them, we fear a worsening of damaging homelessness, in all its forms across NSW – a trend that will eventually demand a significant and expensive response and more generally, may undermine the sustained recovery of the state. These measures will prevent homelessness and support economic development and employment across the state, including in regional towns and cities.
- Fast track investment in social and affordable housing to prevent homelessness and support economic recovery across the state including in regions:
- – Build or acquire 5,000 additional units of social housing each year for the next 10 years to address the current backlog and enable an effective response to the growing demand
- – Invest $500 million in an expanded repairs and maintenance program for existing social housing stock. This would include upgrades to inefficient fixtures (water, heating and cooling) and improve the thermal performance of existing social housing stock.
- – Build three new Youth Foyers in NSW providing integrated housing, education and employment support to vulnerable young people otherwise at risk of homelessness.
2. Increase funding to Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) by 20% to enable it to move beyond a crisis response and deal with the steadily increasing demand on its services.
3. Assist lower income households (including in social housing) in dealing with rising energy costs.
Renew and expand the NSW Appliance Replacement Offer program to support lower-income households to replace inefficient appliances.
4. Expand rental assistance to support low-income private renters to access and sustain tenancies.
In the absence of genuine rental tenancy protection and reform – create a standing hardship fund and expand rental assistance support to tenants in the private rental markets to prevent evictions into homelessness and other insecure housing.
We thank the Public Interest Advocacy Group, NCOSS and the Tenants’ Union of NSW especially for their collegial sharing of information and proposals during the last couple of months.
Any members wishing to discuss any aspect of the submission are welcome to contact Cathy Callaghan, Senior Policy Officer, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 0407067587.