Shadow Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park has called for greater urgency regarding new social housing developments.
State Member for Keira Mr Park said given the waiting list for social housing continues to rise, it is unacceptable that older homes are purchased and families are required to move out, only to see the properties sit derelict for years on end before they are redeveloped.
“I write in relation to concerns that I have regarding the large period of time between when properties are vacated for the purpose of redevelopment and increasing the amount of social housing stock, and when this actual redevelopment takes place,” Mr Park said in a letter to NSW Minister for Social Housing Pru Goward.
“In my own electorate there are a number of sites, including Eager Street, Corrimal where this process has taken many years and still no commencement of construction.
“I urgently request that the department examine ways to expedite the construction of new stock so the ever increasing waiting list for people needing social housing can begin to be reduced.”
Mr Park has also written to NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts, calling for Wollongong council to be included in the Affordable Housing Policy that is now restricted to Sydney-based communities.
Mr Park also said he will be convening a meeting with council, the Housing Trust and Property Council Illawarra about what impediments exist at a state government level to increase the construction of affordable and social housing.
“This is an issue that requires leaders across government, housing providers and industry to work together to address the growing number of people who rely on social and affordable housing to keep a roof over their head,” Mr Park said.
“We can’t have a situation where people are moved out of social housing and then properties sit vacant for years while we have an ever increasing waiting list of people struggling to get help.
“Property prices have soared in this region and we are all aware that we have challenges with employment particularly for young people, and that has increased the pressure on many people who are struggling to find permanent accommodation.”
A FACS spokesperson said the NSW Public Housing occupancy rate is above the national average, standing at 98.1 per cent as at June 30, 2017.
“FACS works quickly to ensure a prompt turnaround when properties become vacant after a tenant moves out,” the spokesperson said.
“Like the private sector, FACS is required to inspect vacant dwellings and ensure they are restored to a clean, safe and habitable standard in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act before they can be re-let.
“If a property is to be re-let, FACS will undertake any necessary repairs to restore them to a clean, safe and habitable state and ready for an incoming tenant.”