Change policy or face exodus of Sydney

Only a shift in policy can prevent the abandonment of Sydney, with ordinary people pushed from their own city by impossible housing costs, said the head of Vinnies NSW today.

“The incredible cost of living, with electricity bills also set to hit new highs this year, means more and more people just can’t afford to keep up anymore,” said Jack de Groot, Chief Executive Officer of the St Vincent de Paul Society in New South Wales.

“At Vinnies we know all too well how the rising prices of basic essentials like housing, electricity and food can push people into crisis. We deal with the consequences every day.

“We’re reading about how key workers like teachers, firefighters and police are forced to the fringes of Sydney, spending half their days just getting to work. How the price of energy is going beyond what watchdog bodies say is reasonable, which’ll mean some families have to forego other necessities just to heat their homes this winter.”[1]

He continued: “To give average Sydneysiders a chance of living a decent life, the government has to act swiftly. We need to see at least 15% of all new residential developments set aside for affordable housing, 30% in the case of government-owned land.

“Moreover, energy retailers should give consumers a transparent Basic Service Offer; and the fixed-amount Low Income Household Rebate should be replaced with a fairer 20% concession.

“Without these changes, the city we know and love will become nothing more than a haven for the rich.”

[1] See Matt Wade, ‘Workers flee city, Parramatta’ and Adam Gartrell, ‘Energy price hikes of up to $430 predicted’, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 February 2018.