NSW Government accused of asset stripping public housing in Wollongong Local Government Area

The NSW Liberal and Nationals Government has been accused of asset stripping public housing in the Wollongong local government area after it was revealed it has sold or demolished 40 dwellings but not replaced them with new stock during the last financial year while nearly 2000 people are on waiting lists.

Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully, asked the Minister for Water, Property and Housing, Melinda Pavey MP, a series of questions on notice on the social housing stock which was available and removed in the Wollongong local government area and specifically the Wollongong electorate over the 2019-20 financial year.

He said he was shocked by the Minister’s response to his questions.

“Every day I am contacted by local residents who have waited years for social housing and are still waiting”, Mr Scully said.

“Then it’s revealed that the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government is basically engaging in old fashioned asset stripping of public housing stock in the Wollongong local government area and in my electorate while nearly 2000 people are stuck on waiting lists”, he said.

The Berejiklian Government’s 2019-20 record on social housing locally includes:

  • Selling 15 dwellings
  • Demolishing 25 dwellings
  • Adding 0 (zero) dwellings for a net loss of 40 dwellings.

Mr Scully noted that this did not include those houses that have been boarded up and waiting for maintenance so they can be tenanted again.

“It is an absolute disgrace that the Government is asset stripping public housing stock in Wollongong and not made any new stock available over the last 12 months in a city that ranks among the least affordable in the country”, he said.

Mr Scully said the shocking revelations made a mockery of the Premier’s Priority to halve homelessness in New South Wales by 2025, which was much talked about during Homeless Week last week.

“If the Government is serious about achieving the Premier’s homelessness target it needs to be going flat out to build new public housing stock, not flogging it off and knocking it down.

“It’s like trying to fill a bucket of water with a hole in it – the Government must do more”, he said.

Guide to waiting times for social housing in Wollongong LGA as at 30 June 2019

Social housing zone

General waiting number

Priority waiting

Number

Property waiting period in years

South Wollongong zone

456

33

5-10 year wait

Wollongong City Zone

1,298

60

5-10 year wait

Source: https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/housing/help/applying-assistance/expected-waiting-times

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