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Byron Shire
July 15, 2024

Editorial – Let’s learn about government housing!

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With all the noise and fury over the lack of ‘affordable housing’, it might be useful to define what different types there are in Australia’s market-based housing system. 

Affordable housing advocate, House You, says clarity is needed around public, social, community and affordable housing terminology.

And The Echo agrees.

But beware! The terminology is vague and there are crossover definitions. Generally, all types of government-funded housing are aimed at assisting low-income households, those who are homeless, or those at risk of domestic violence.

Social housing covers both public and community housing 

According to Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (www.ahuri.edu.au), social housing is an umbrella term for two types of government-subsidised short- and long-term rental housing: public housing and community housing

Public housing

It helped build Australia! Public housing is entirely government-owned and -managed, which means no third-party entities (who benefit financially) are involved.

It offers the lowest-cost entry point for those in need of a home.

While there is no public housing included in Labor’s $10b Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF), the NSW Labor budget, released on Tuesday, promises to ‘rebuild public housing after a decade of neglect’.

‘Public housing is the gold standard we should be striving for,’ states Chels Hood Withey of House You.

She says, ‘It provides lifelong leases and rent based on income, typically set at just 15 per cent to 25 per cent of a household’s wage or pension amount. This ensures housing remains truly affordable’.

Public housing is owned or leased by the NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC), and managed by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ). 

Community housing 

Community housing is managed (and often owned) by Community Housing Providers (CHPs), according to www.ahuri.edu.au. Some of the main providers in the region are Northern Rivers Housing (NRH), Homes North, and Evolve Housing.

Given the lack of historical investment in public housing, CHPs are instrumental in providing community housing.

Affordable housing

Broadly, affordable housing is developer-led rentals offered at a discounted market rate.

Community housing providers are also involved in this space.

Developers can receive affordable housing concessions by meeting the criteria of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing) 2021 (SEPP).

In NSW, affordable housing is usually rented at 20 per cent to 25 per cent below the market rent.

As it is not tied to median wages, it is not that affordable. 

NSW Labor had the chance to reform the SEPP metrics so that, for example, speculating developers would be required to provide longer leases and more of a percentage of floor space as ‘affordable’, yet they squandered that opportunity.

Presumably wealthy developers know what’s best for those who can’t afford affordable housing?

Hans Lovejoy, editor

News tips are welcome: [email protected]


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13 COMMENTS

  1. PM Albo, he loves to tell the story of his younger years growing up in public housing.
    PM Albo, don’t forget your roots, mandate Public Housing.
    Stop wasting $’staxpayer on stuff like ; $300 helpers for Billionaires and Multi Millionaires; $40million ad campaign for Stage 3 Taxidermy; Bill’s $620,00 speech writer; and get more dosh into Public Housing.

      • No, just straight talking from the Joachim.
        Less $’swasting and more $’sPublic Housing, you Not okay with that Lizardbreath?

        • You seem to have forgotten the original question:

          Can you REALLY tell me you think confining the energy bill rebate to allowance recipients (as in last time) – a group that has its fair share of multi millionaire CSHC carrying self-funded retirees and part pensioners – while giving no cost of living relief to many a renter or mega mortgage payer, is good “targeting”?

          It’s not hard – yes or no?

          • Yes, it was good targeting, deemed to be the most in need, Budget’24 should have followed the formula.

          • Oh, so the states have come out against the “$300 helpers” have they? And the federal government who instigated them?

            There’s no shame in admitting you’re wrong

          • Oh I have Joachim. I’ve explained them very clearly to you – including who was overlooked in them.

            Or are you talking about their support for it in ‘23. Assuming this means they don’t support the ‘24 budget measure.

            Is this Greens logical 🤸‍♂️🤸🤸‍♂️and 🌪️?

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