Labor’s housing target for public land welcome but more needed: advocates 

Labor’s housing target for public land welcome but more needed: advocates 

Longtime advocates of secure housing have welcomed the NSW Labor Opposition’s announcement of a target for housing on unused public land, but they say whoever wins state government must do more to ensure everyone can access a secure home. 

If elected in March, Labor would introduce a target of 30 per cent affordable, social, and universal housing on unused public land, NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns announced today. 

John Engeler, CEO of Shelter NSW, which is a member of Sydney Alliance, said his organisation strongly supported Labor’s decision to better utilise surplus government land for social and affordable housing.  

“We expect this housing to remain in perpetuity and see 30 per cent as a floor, not a ceiling,” Mr Engeler said.

“We look forward to seeing similar commitments for social and affordable housing on private land, and ways in which local communities, government, community housing providers and other not-for-profits can work together to complement the government’s commitment in this much needed area of market reform.” 

Jo Karaolis, who lives in Killara and is part of the Sydney Alliance Northside team, said providing a home for everyone is a basic role of government.  

“The people I speak to locally, their children have had to move out to Liverpool or Berowra for a rental they can afford,” she said. 

“There are so many employers here who can’t get workers because they would have to travel so far to work. I know deliverers who had to stop because they can’t get workers. Same with every shop you see, they’re advertising for staff.” 

Mr Minns said the current plan to accommodate more than a million additional people in Sydney over the next 20 years would locate the most people in the areas with the least public transport. 

“Parramatta will take 127,000 people, Blacktown more than 110,000, the Hills more than 100,000, Camden 88,000 and Liverpool 80,000,” he said, adding that these areas had public transport connections rated in the bottom half of Sydney suburbs. 

“Meanwhile, North Sydney will take 8700, Lane Cove 6600, Woollahra 3500. And my favourite is Mosman which will take 425 additional people – or 21 people a year.” 

The NSW Labor Leader said his party would target housing in areas close to public transport and “well located for housing growth”. 

Saimi Jeong, Sydney Alliance

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