Census results - Sydney unaffordable

Jack de Groot, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society NSW

Living in inner Sydney has become unaffordable for all but the few, and rising housing costs means that the city is quickly being divided into the haves and have nots.

Yesterday’s front page (‘City split as key workers move out’) showed how deep the fault lines run. When police, nurses or teachers have to spend half their day getting to and from their workplaces, surely it's time to look at practical solutions to the affordable housing crisis.

Here at the St Vincent de Paul Society we see first-hand the impact that spiralling housing and other essential expenses have on people from all walks of life.

That’s why we’re asking the Government of New South Wales to bring in planning laws that help break the cycle. At least 15% of all new residential developments should be set aside for affordable housing, and 30% in the case of government-owned land.

More than 16,300 people already signed our petition calling for these changes, which was presented at NSW Parliament House last year. It is clearly time that all parties make this issue a priority and commit to real change.

It should not only be the highest earners who populate the coveted areas close to the CBD with all the ease of amenities that this brings. New developments like Barangaroo should not just be playgrounds for the rich.

The Green Square and the Sydney Olympic Park affordable housing proposals are a start, but not nearly enough.

We are all Sydneysiders, and we should all have at least the opportunity to live affordably and within a manageable distance to our places of work. 

The housing crisis is not going away and it is up to the government to make some space for its voters.