06 February 2024

Ms JODIE HARRISON (Charlestown—Minister for Women, Minister for Seniors, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault) (19:58): It has been almost a year since the New South Wales Labor Government was elected to take on the large and daunting issues left behind after more than a decade of mismanagement by the previous Government. While the previous Government chased expensive, flashy boondoggles, which saw budget blowouts and schedule overruns, the day-to-day concerns of many New South Wales residents were ignored to the point of neglect. The impacts of that neglect can be seen in every part of the State, with the rising cost of living hitting every person. Nowhere is that more keenly felt than in housing. I know that because my constituents come and speak to my office every day about it.

There can be no doubt that New South Wales is in the midst of a housing crisis. Rents are spiking. They are eating up more of people's incomes and they are putting upward pressure on the cost of living. Rising property prices have left an entire generation feeling as though they have been priced out of the market forever. The neglect of the State's public housing stock has seen some of the most vulnerable people in our community in insecure, poorly maintained, ageing stock or facing homelessness.

Addressing an issue of that magnitude takes time, but as we approach the first anniversary of the election of the New South Wales Labor Government I inform the House about what two of the Government's achievements mean for my electorate of Charlestown—the rollout of Homes NSW and the Transport Oriented Development State Environmental Planning Policy. Individually those decisions will make important strides towards a stronger, fairer housing system for renters and buyers in the private market, as well as for public housing tenants. Together the reforms will mean a seismic change for the better, and they will create downward pressure on the cost of living. Last week the establishment of Homes NSW was officially announced. It was a great day for this Government, a great day for New South Wales and—most importantly for me—a great day for many of my constituents in Charlestown. Social housing maintenance and access is the number one issue my electorate office in Charlestown deals with on a day-to-day basis.

The New South Wales public housing system has been broken for a long time. With responsibilities split between a number of departments and agencies, there are too many opportunities for communication breakdown, which creates too many cracks for individual cases to fall through. At a time when the need for social and affordable housing has never been greater, so many public housing tenants find navigating the byzantine system almost impossible. Now the New South Wales Labor Government is ending that broken model, bringing together all those various agencies into Homes NSW, which will have people at the front and centre of its focus. This major reform was a key Labor election promise, and it will go right to addressing one of the major drivers behind the housing crisis. I am so proud to be part of a government that is putting people back at the heart of public housing and ensuring they have safe, secure roofs over their heads.

The formation of Homes NSW follows a reform announced last year—that is, the Transport Oriented Development Program. Property prices in the Charlestown electorate have skyrocketed in recent years, and I know we are not alone in that regard. The median house price in the 2290 postcode, which includes a broad swathe of my electorate, has climbed from $535,000 in 2016 to $877,000 in 2023. The Transport Oriented Development Program allows for the construction of 138,000 new homes within 400 metres of town centres and railway stations across the State, including two within the Charlestown electorate: Adamstown and Kotara.

It is clear that housing supply has not kept up with demand and that there is not enough of the types of housing that appeal to many in the twenty-first century. The sites selected for the program have infrastructure to build on. They are close to transport links and amenities including shops, schools and parks and they allow for more essential workers to live a reasonable distance from where they do their important work. It is about promoting housing choice to allow home buyers to find the type of property that works for them and their lifestyle. It is about getting people into homes. I am proud to be part of the team delivering the reforms for New South Wales and I cannot wait to see the benefits they will bring.