Shelter NSW Statement on the NSW Government Budget 2020-21

A budget of missed opportunity – not fit for the challenging times we live in.

While there are some specific encouraging announcements related to housing security in yesterday’s NSW 2020-21 Budget, overall Shelter NSW is very disappointed and concerned with the response. It is a budget of missed opportunity and not fit for the challenging times we live in.

We give the Budget a ‘B-‘. 

With less than a $1 billion investment in social housing over 4 years, the NSW Government has missed the opportunity to make real, broadly applied and long-term improvements for housing security, especially for low and very low-income earners. This is at a time when the Government’s own data forecasts rising and damaging unemployment. In doing so, it has also missed the opportunity to inject significant and targeted economic stimulus into the residential construction industry, supporting thousands of jobs.
We welcome the commitment to extend the support of overtly homeless people, the so-called ‘rough sleepers’ – expanding the successful Together Home program.  But we fear this program and the social housing list will be swamped as unemployment, evictions and poverty increases. 

There are already 50,000 households on the social housing waiting list and 231,000 low-income household paying more than 30% of their income for housing [1].   How does the commitment to build fewer than 800 social dwellings over a couple of years help them?
The next budget, due in May 2021, is shaping up to be a critical one.  By then, the NSW Government and the broader community will be contending with the recession and the withdrawal of Federal ‘Covid’ income support.  We hope that the next budget will demonstrate the government’s commitment to social, affordable and specialist housing for those whom the market fails – a great many people in NSW.

See our scorecard on the PDF below:


[1]Supporting Economic Recovery in NSW: Investment in social and affordable housing is critical to supporting jobs today and families in the future, Equity Economics (May 2020)