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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Show me the money!

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Laurence Axtens, Lismore

It’s typical of the city-centric Liberal/National state government that while they have led the way federally for the provision of affordable housing in Sydney, they have completely ignored the northern rivers. Here the housing prices are comparable to Sydney and the average income is more than 30 per cent lower.

The Social and Affordable Housing Fund (SAHF) is a reasonable example of how public funds can be used to fill the ‘gap’ required to deliver new below market housing, so why hasn’t it been focused on the areas of greatest need?

According to the 2018 ‘Housing Needs – Northern Rivers Housing Study’ our community housing waiting list has over 3,000 applicants and most have been waiting for over ten years. This list could be completely cleared with the investment of a mere $1.8 billion. Sounds like a lot? Think again.

The city-based state government has been making a motza speculating on Sydney property. Since coming to office Gladys’s government has sold off $10 billion in property and still holds $160 billion in their portfolio. This could explain how they afforded reducing house prices in marginal city seats; so where’s our cut?

Here in the national capital of ‘housing stress’ where rents keep our pensioners struggling to feed themselves and where the rate of homelessness has skyrocketed more than 23 per cent in the last six years – we’re screaming – show me the money.

It is hard to not feel that we’ve been played for fools by decades of National Party representatives – who have sat in parliament and watched us being ignored and exploited. Neither of the big parties can provide representatives that represent their local constituencies as their first priority; they are all beholden to Sydney. Its time to think we looked to our own.

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