NSW funding injection into housing has room for improvement, say Greens

NSW funding injection into housing has room for improvement, say Greens
Image: NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

by ASPEN ABNER

 

The Greens have slammed the NSW Budget for leaving money on the table and leaving people behind as the housing crisis worsens.

The 2024-25 budget, announced on Tuesday, will be the biggest single investment in social housing in the state’s history, designating $5.1 billion to build 8,400 new and refurbished social homes, 6,200 of which will be new. 

With homelessness worsening across the state, the Budget “is making a commitment to build less than half of the amount of social housing that is needed just to keep pace with the increasing numbers of people needing help,” said Abigail Boyd, Greens NSW Treasury Spokesperson. 

Approximately half of the 8,400 houses will be reserved for women and children escaping domestic violence. 

Currently more than 34,000 women and children are on standby for social housing, with an estimated 5,000 women and children in urgent need. 

In total, 58,000 people are on the waiting list for social homes. 

Waiting times can fall between less than 2 years to more than 10 years depending on certain criteria and the urgency of the applicant’s situation. 

“NSW needs more homes”

NSW Treasurer Daniel Mookhey said, “NSW needs more homes, more homes for renters, more homes for key workers, more homes for people escaping violence at home.” 

In their shadow budget, The Greens suggested a vacant property tax for properties left vacant for six months in areas with high housing stress. Taxes would be implemented on a scaled-in basis, rising from 1% to 3% by the third year. 

“The soaring cost-of-living pressures, growing unemployment, and record housing stress, the Budget is only committing to building less than half of the amount of social housing that is needed just to keep pace,” Boyd highlighted. 

The budget also included a $527 million investment in critical homelessness services. 

CEO of Homelessness NSW Dom Rowe described it as “welcome, but must not represent our best efforts to tackle this once-in-a-generation crisis.” 

“While it remains below what’s needed to meet soaring costs and community demand, today’s announcement is a step in the right direction,” Rowe said on Tuesday. 

Need for tax reforms

In addition, Boyd has criticised Labor for failing to implement even modest tax reforms concerning property and luxury vehicles, saying, “NSW needs a government unashamed to take revenue from those who should be paying their share to provide for those who need it most.”

The Greens Party has asserted that the Budget can allocate more funds towards this high-stake issue, sharing that despite budgeting cuts in various sections, the NSW government has still managed to source millions of dollars to reduce royalty obligations to black coal miners. 

“The Treasurer has handed down a budget that simply doesn’t meet people where they are.” 

 

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