Social Futures is disappointed that the New South Wales government passed on the opportunity to invest in social housing in the recent state budget.
Social Futures CEO Tony Davies has welcomed the government’s funding for flood recovery in northern New South Wales, but was disappointed the budget did not include more for low-income communities.
“As a result of the floods, the Northern Rivers, which was a very vulnerable community, is now more vulnerable,” Mr Davies said.
“I would have liked to have seen a massive commitment to social housing in this budget. Around New South Wales there are around 50,000 households on the waiting list for social housing.”
Mr Davies said before the floods many Northern Rivers towns, including Lismore, had waiting lists of more than 10 years for social housing and the floods had clearly exacerbated homelessness.
“There have been statements from government saying they will commit to social housing, but in reality, there has been virtually no social housing built in the Northern Rivers by government in the last decade,” he said.
Mr Davies said on the Tweed, a not-for-profit had secured funding to build some houses, but much more is needed with this year’s flooding leading to more homelessness in the area.
“Property is so valuable, so it’s actually a good idea for government to build and hold housing – it builds the wealth of the state, and there are so many benefits to the community if people have safe housing,” he said.
“To have a well-functioning harmonious community we need more social housing – insecure housing damages people’s mental health – children drop out of school, relationships break down and that’s a cost to our community.”
Mr Davies did welcome increases to the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance program to help struggling households cover the rising cost of energy and also more investment in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector.