Monday, May 25, 2015

Minister Hazzard's Social Housing Forum

As part of the New South Wales Government's Social Housing discussion, Minister Hazzard has convened a Social Housing Forum - chaired by two former NSW Premiers, no less - to be held at the Australian Technology Park this afternoon.

If the Minister's press release is anything to go by, it should be a real cracker. "This is about as good as it gets", he says, "having former Premiers Morris Iemma and Nick Greiner chairing the forum and leading the way on what is one of the biggest issues facing the community..."

Messrs Iemma and Greiner weigh in with their own remarks, noting that "the Government has a strong and clear mandate to take action in this area" (Iemma) and "social housing is the greatest single opportunity area and the greatest unsolved problem for NSW infrastructure" (Greiner). These are strong words, and it's pleasing to see them being uttered by such high-profile commentators - particularly given the relative inaction on social housing supply over the last two decades, and the difficulties policy advocates have had in raising housing affordability as an issue that is inherently one of infrastructure.

So we're excited to see what comes of the forum. The Tenants' Union will be in attendance, and we've been given some insight into how the conversation will be guided. We understand there will be questions around the sorts of outcomes a social housing system might strive to deliver, how to encourage people to move from one form of housing to another as needs change, and how to innovate and get more money into the social housing system.

These questions are riddled with complexity and we expect there will be a broad range of views on offer at the forum. After all, it will be attended by representatives from the finance and banking sectors as well as experts from Government and the not-for-profit housing sector. We'll be doing our bit to keep the conversation focussed on the needs of those who live in social housing: tenants, and their households.

But we'll also be asking the forum to be bold.

Because when we talk about outcomes for the social housing system, we must also talk about what the private rental market delivers.

When we talk about a transition from one type of housing to the next, we must also talk about what the private rental market delivers.

And when we talk about the money that is, or isn't, or could be, or should be available to fund and innovate the establishment of more affordable housing... well, on that front we must also talk about what the private rental market delivers.


  1. Good Luck. We will await your answers with abated breathe.

  2. I attended yesterday as a Public Housing Tenant and it was a lively and interesting afternoon! I will wait with interest on your comments about this Forum


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