Social housing debated in NSW Parliament

Over the past two years, our members and staff have been hard at work campaigning for the NSW Government to invest in more social housing.

Defined as secure and affordable rental housing for people on low incomes with housing needs, the current waitlist for social housing in NSW is made up of 51,000 applicants or the equivalent of more than 100,000 people in need of a home. For many, the time spent waiting can run up to ten years.

In September 2019, we launched Build Homes, Build Hope, a social justice campaign calling on the State Government to build an additional 5,000 social housing properties each year for the next decade.

To achieve this ambitious, yet vital, target, Vinnies members set about meeting with their local MPs and collecting 10,000 signatures for a petition to be tabled in NSW Parliament. Amid the challenges of the Black Summer bushfires and COVID-19, a total of more than 13,000 signatures was delivered to Alex Greenwich, Member for Sydney, in October 2020.

On 18 February, the petition was debated in NSW Parliament where MPs from all sides of politics spoke on the importance of social housing in all parts of the state.

Alex Greenwich hosted an event in the Jubilee Room at NSW Parliament House where Gareth Ward, Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services; Melinda Pavey, Minister for Water, Property and Housing; and Ryan Park, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness addressed a delegate of Vinnies members. Labor MPs Chris Minns and Jodie Harrison were also in attendance on the day.

“We are in an enormously difficult time – a time where many of our children will never be able to live in the suburbs and communities where they grew up in,” said Ryan Park.

“If I could just wave a magic wand I would love nothing more than to do 5,000 homes every year for the next ten years; but let’s be realistic to the treasury and the responsibilities we have,” said Melinda Pavey.

During the petition debate, Jenny Leong, Member for Newtown, spoke passionately on the responsibility of government to ensure residents have a safe and secure place to live.

“If we are in this place to do one thing then surely it should be to deliver safe, affordable, habitable and secure homes for the people of New South Wales,” said Jenny Leong.

Jack de Groot, Vinnies NSW CEO, spoke following the conclusion of the debate with a message on the overall quality of life that comes with having a place to call home.

“Sometimes we get confused in NSW about the value of property. We forget about the fundamental value of a life that flourishes in a home – that’s what we’re about.” Thanks to the support of donors like you, we are able to advocate for social change by raising awareness of issues affecting people experiencing hardship and disadvantage.

To learn more about our advocacy work and campaigns calling for a more equitable NSW, sign up to our monthly Social Justice e-Newsletter or contact