No new money for construction of new public housing in Newcastle has been allocated in the state budget despite the overall number of government-owned properties declining over the past 10 years.
The state government's Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) has been allocated $1.6 million to be spent on new upgrades or maintainance of properties in the Newcastle electorate, while $6.8 million is set aside for upgrades that are in progress.
It comes after The Herald reported that there were 150 less properties in Newcastle owned by LAHC last year than a decade before and that applicants are facing a wait of up to 10 years for social housing in the city.
"This is so disappointing," Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said. "I don't believe for a second that this government is unaware of just how dire the situation is in Newcastle. I think they know and they just don't care.
"Local services will tell you that there has been a chronic underinvestment in social and affordable housing from this government, and this budget was their chance to start to catch up. A lack of investment now will be felt for years to come, and we simply cannot afford to wait."
St Vincent De Paul Society said this budget was a missed opportunity to significantly invest in social housing.
"Victoria committed $5.3 billion in 2020 and Queensland $2.9 billion just this year, meanwhile NSW announced $812 million last year," St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO, Jack de Groot, said.
"The 2021-22 NSW Budget mostly appears to be continuing to allocate this year's share of the previously announced social housing funding.
"To truly make a difference, the NSW Government needs to significantly increase its commitment to build more new social housing homes every year.
"Since 2016, our analysis shows the state government has committed to build only 9,386 additional social housing residences.
"This means, even if it continues at its current pace, it's building at about a third of the rate it needs to be to make a serious dent in the waiting list."
The budget did include a $57 million expansion of the Together Home program over two years, which involves securing homes from the private rental market and delivers tailored supports to meet the complex needs of the people in the program.
The investment will fund a further 250 Together Home packages and enable community housing providers to deliver more than 100 new homes across the state.
But the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) said this failed to fully address homelessness, nor housing affordability.
"Providing responses to homelessness is important, but a critical determinant of homelessness is the availability of affordable housing for people on low incomes," said CHIA CEO Mark Degotardi. "According to new Equity Economics modelling released by CHIA NSW this week, NSW has a shortage of at least 70,000 social housing dwellings. There is simply no strategy for addressing this critical shortfall.
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