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City of Ryde residential suburbs of Greater Sydney in Australia - aerial view towards distant city CBD on horizon.

Open Letter Calling for Urgent Action on Housing

Councils in NSW are so concerned at the worsening housing crisis they have issued an open letter to all federal election candidates, calling on them to commit to a four-point plan.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Darriea Turley AM said the state’s 128 councils were asking candidates for:

  • Substantial federal investment to deliver an additional 5,000 social housing dwellings a year, for the next decade
  • Investment in a far greater supply of affordable rental housing, for hardworking Australians increasingly facing housing insecurity
  • A plan to improve rates of home ownership without supercharging demand and contributing to even higher household debt and worsened affordability, and
  • A Royal Commission into the affordability and future of housing in Australia.

“Councils continue to see low- and middle-income workers being priced out of local housing,” Cr Turley said.  “This is as true in the regions as in metropolitan areas.

“Intergenerational inequality is growing dramatically, with young people and families finding it impossible to reach even the first rung of the housing ladder.

 “There has been a continued fall in home ownership rates since the mid-1990s, as house prices soar and more and more people are forced into an increasingly unaffordable rental market.

“The knock-on effect has driven homelessness to unprecedented levels.

"Yet all we are hearing is the same old simplistic, developer-driven approach: cut red tape and increase supply.

“That approach hasn’t worked in the past 10 years and it won’t work now."

Cr Turley said housing affordability was mainly driven by factors beyond the scope of state and local planning systems: financial and taxation systems, population growth and interest rates.

“Interest rates may be beyond the control of the Federal Government, but tax reform and population growth is not,” she said.

“Relying on the same old responses will deliver the same old results – that’s how we got to where we are now.

“Communities are sick and tired of buck passing on this fundamental issue and want real action and leadership.”

Cr Turley said local government was committed to working collaboratively with the government to tackle and address the housing crisis.

“We see firsthand the impact of the housing crisis on our communities, and know better than anyone the severity of the situation.

“Chronic underfunding of social housing is worsening the impact of rising housing and rental stress, especially in the regions.

“Right now, there are more than 50,000 people on the social housing waitlist across NSW.

“There is an urgent need to address this issue proactively and to tackle the underlying causes that are fundamental to real change.

“We’re asking every single candidate, irrespective of political allegiance, to step up and speak up by pledging their support for solutions that will deliver real results.”