The NSW Opposition has called out what they say is an “astonishing” increase in public housing sales over the past two years, including $18 million in sales from the Illawarra.
But the state government says the sell-off has allowed $21 million to be invested in the Illawarra to build 55 new homes for vulnerable people.
Information obtained by Labor shows the Baird Government has sold off about $18 million dollars’ worth of social housing in the past two years in the Illawarra.
This included government housing properties sold for more than $13.9 million in Wollongong across two financial years (to July 2016), and public property sales in Bulli in 2014/15 totalling $2.37 million.
Also in 2014/15, the government made $750,000 from sales in Woonona, and $387,000 from sales in Port Kembla. And, last financial year, there were sales of $315,000 in Warrawong and $320,000 in Shellharbour.
Labor’s Social Housing spokeswoman Tania Mihailuk highlighted that the sell off had come “at the peak of the housing affordability crisis as thousands of people are struggling to put a roof over their heads” and said the ballooning public housing waiting list showed “the Baird Government has got its priorities all wrong”.
But Acting Minister for Social Housing John Ajaka said there had actually been an increase in Illawarra public housing properties over the two year period.
“The NSW Government has invested [the $17.9 million] to build 55 new social housing dwellings in the area,” he said. “Every cent from the sale of sold properties, including Millers Point, has gone straight into building new housing supply.”
He said the government was “building more social housing than this state has seen in decades” with 1,125 new homes built across NSW, compared to 513 properties sold.
Labor’s Illawarra spokesman and Keira MP Ryan Park said he had nothing against the sale of old properties to fund new housing stock, but was concerned about the growing need for housing in the Illawarra.