Saffin presses for hard targets, timelines for building more housing

Janelle Saffin MP next week will press NSW Minister for Planning and Homes Anthony Roberts on the NSW Government's hard targets and timelines for building social and affordable housing in the Northern Rivers region.

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin is pressing the NSW Government to set hard targets for building social and affordable housing in the Northern Rivers region, and to update her on any advances with supply.

Ms Saffin has written to NSW Minister for Planning and Homes Anthony Roberts ahead of meeting him next week and last night in a Private Members Statement expressed her concerns about the worsening housing supply and affordability crisis.

“The NSW Regional Housing Taskforce, to which I had significant input, was established in response to this long-festering crisis, one exacerbated by an exodus of people from locked down cities to our region; spiralling, unchecked rents; and the catastrophic floods of February and March,” Ms Saffin says.

Ms Saffin notes that in August the NSW Government responded to the NSW Regional Housing Taskforce, adopting all of its recommendations and articulating a strategy to support delivery of 127,000 new homes in regions over the next decade.

“I will discuss with Minister Roberts how this strategy will benefit the Electorate of Lismore and the wider region – and ask him what the Government’s hard targets and timelines are for building long-term social and affordable housing in the city of Lismore, Nimbin village and towns like Kyogle, Murwillumbah and Tenterfield,” Ms Saffin says.

Ms Saffin has spent this Parliamentary term strongly advocating for governments to take a comprehensive approach to supply, affordability and provision of housing.

“The more new homes we build, the closer we get to ending the travesty of homelessness,” Ms Saffin says.

“Our economy benefits too with jobs growth and more activity in the construction industry and associated businesses.”

Ms Saffin yesterday (Thursday, 13 October) also moved a Notice of Motion that the Legislative Assembly:

  • Notes the housing crisis is now beyond critical in the Northern Rivers.
  • Notes that 18,600 social and affordable homes are needed across the Northern Rivers to address the housing crisis now.
  • Notes that the flood housing plan being rolled out by Resilience NSW is clunky, slow and not done in collaboration with community, and lacks any creativity whatsoever.
  • Calls to account the Government to do better.

Ms Saffin says Social Futures, a community service organisation which runs homeless support programs, in August called on the NSW and Australian governments to build a total of 18,600 social and affordable homes, with investment in social housing an urgent priority.

“Previously, the University of New South Wales City Futures Research Centre and Everybody’s Home campaign had estimated that our region had a shortfall of 10,000 social and 5,000 affordable housing dwellings,” Ms Saffin says.

“Social Futures’ call for 18,600 homes came on the back of the State Emergency Service estimating that the floods left more than 4,000 homes uninhabitable, the majority in the Northern Rivers.

“And we already had a rental affordability crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic with rents increasing by 20 per cent or more in the Lismore City, Tweed Shire and neighbouring local government areas. Property prices also skyrocketed with modest homes in Lismore fetching more than $1 million.”

CBD OPENING: Lismore MP Janelle Saffin recently was master of ceremonies for Social Futures’ opening in the city’s Central Business District. With her were NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Minister for Disability Services Natasha Maclaren-Jones, Jenny Dowell OAM, and Social Futures CEO Tony Davies.