Here’s hoping for a big Budget spend on social housing

ALL eyes will be on NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet this month when he hands down the 2020-21 State Budget, particularly to see if a strategically leaked big-ticket item becomes a reality for future years.

ALL eyes will be on NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet this month when he hands down the 2020-21 State Budget, particularly to see if a strategically leaked big-ticket item becomes a reality for future years.

I read with interest Sydney Morning Herald reporter Matt Wade’s October 10 article – NSW to spend big on public housing to get out of the COVID-19 recession – where the Treasurer was quoted as saying the NSW is set to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on social housing.

I immediately wrote to Mr Perrottet, welcoming this pre-Budget announcement and attaching my Housing Ends Homelessness Report and Advocacy Paper, for his information and consideration.

Readers can find this report on my website – – or request a copy from my Electorate Office on 0266 213 624.

I reiterated to him that the Northern Rivers region, of which the Electorate of Lismore forms a large part, has an historic significant shortage of social housing and put in a pitch for a fair share of the Budget spend to go here.

Not only would it provide short-term job creation opportunities in the construction industry but it would house more of the most vulnerable members of our local communities and reduce disadvantage.

I know that tackling the issues of housing supply, affordable housing and homelessness are close to heart of many residents of Nimbin and surrounding areas because yours is among the most inclusive and open-minded of communities.

I stand ready to work with the NSW Government should they release their long-overdue social housing policy and implement it on the ground.

When it is said that the Federal Government is not involved in the provision of social housing that is not entirely accurate; Defence Housing Australia (DHA) is a great model for delivering and maintaining mass social housing.

It has an excellent track record of efficiency, sound financial management and profitability.

I observed DHA projects across Australia in my capacity as a former Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works when I was Federal Member for Page.

There are 18,000 Defence Housing Australia properties nationwide, worth $11.2 billion and turning over a $40-million-a-year profit.

Defence Housing Australia could sub-contract to local builders, handymen and associated trades.

Had the recent Federal Budget allocated funding for social housing, it would have been welcomed.

My work as a political representative is guided daily to make a positive difference in people’s lives, particularly the disadvantaged in our local communities.

For instance, Momentum Collective’s mission statement of helping their clients have a safe and suitable roof over their heads, secure a job and to live a better life align with my values.

I grew up in the Housing Commission (as it was called then) in Ipswich and felt so pleased and privileged to have a house, a yard, a neighbourhood and a broad mix of people.

All children must have this opportunity and feel like this. It is up to us adults to make sure it happens both at a policy level and at a practical level on the ground.

Showground success

CONGRATULATIONS to all involved in Nimbin Showground’s success this year in Phase 1 and Phase 1B of the NSW Government’s Showground Stimulus Funding program.

The team secured a $22,000 grant in Phase 1 to tile one existing amenities block and a $41,000 grant in Phase 1B to install a concrete pathway linking amenities blocks.

Overall, a total of $675,208 was shared by local showgrounds in the Electorate of Lismore under the three phases (1, 1B and 2) of this $25-million program, rolling out over two financial years as part of the Government’s $2.3-billion Health and Economic Stimulus Package (COVID-19 Stimulus).

A ROOF, A JOB, A BETTER LIFE: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin and Lismore City Councillor Darlene Cook support the continued good work being done by Momentum Collective team members to combat homelessness and social disadvantage.    

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