Vinnies' incredulous reaction to NSW Public Housing plan

Acting President of the St Vincent de Paul Society (NSW/ACT) has given the thumbs-down to the state's greatest public housing shake-up in 50 years, arguing that it is going to leave many of its most vulnerable citizens "completely shaken".

Under plans announced last week by Premier Bob Carr, public housing tenants will no longer be entitled to government housing for life, and some tenants will face higher rents, the New South Wales Government has announced. Tenants on moderate incomes would face rental increases from July this year of 25 to 30% of their income.

"Many of those who now have to find extra money each week to pay water rates and higher rents will be forced to seek assistance from charities in order to survive," said Acting President Raymond James.

"We understand the enormous pressures placed on the Department of Housing due to high demand from people in need of affordable housing and poor funding from the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement" said Mr James. "But the assertion that this is all about weeding out tenants who drive BMWs borders on the ridiculous."

"Strong strategies for affordable housing, including public housing, community housing and low-cost housing are essential if the NSW Government has any commitment to a fair go for people living in disadvantage," said Mr James.

"Earlier this week we witnessed the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources explaining that low-cost housing is to be left to the market in the case of the Bringelly Development. We at Vinnies find it hard to reconcile this faith in the market with the facts," he said. "We know, for example, that a recent report1 comparing the housing affordability in cities across the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand puts Sydney near the top of the "Severely Unaffordable" category coming in at 4th place out of the 88 cities surveyed."

Mr James added: "The insecurity of tenure in the private rental market is one of the most serious issues facing the lives of many of the people we assist. This is on top of growing levels of housing stress whereby low-income households are paying over 30% of their household income on housing costs."

Vinnies Greets Housing Plan with Disbelief (St Vincent de Paul Society 2/5/05)
Carr plans public housing revamp (The Australian/AAP 27/4/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Vincent de Paul Society

Josephite Justice aims to secure safe homes for all (CathNews 19/4/05)

Premiums force a cut in charity (Daily Telegraph 2/5/05)
Philip Lynch: There are people sleeping rough tonight. Why? (The Age 3/5/05)
Funding for local charity [St Vincent de Paul] (Cobar Age 28/4/05)

3 May 2005