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Inquiry into social, public and affordable housing

It is worthwhile recognising that the term “affordable housing” is neither an absolute nor definitive term. The affordability is not expressed in dollars and cents. It is expressed as a percentage of the current market rent in that particular location and is applicable for a small number of years, during which the owner receives financial rebates from the government. The wages of the tenant do not vary in direct ratio to the rental market movements.

“Social housing” is an umbrella term that covers the public, community, and Aboriginal Housing Office government-owned-and-operated sectors of the housing marketplace. Each of these sectors has its own unique criteria and purpose. The term “social housing” is frequently used by the government to divert attention from a particular member of the trilogy.

Submissions can be made in writing. Other formats such as video and audiotape are also acceptable.

If you are making a submission on behalf of an organisation, please indicate who has authorised it, for example, the executive committee, president or chairperson. Ensure that your name, address and phone number are included with your submission and keep a copy of your submission.

You can write a brief letter or a substantial research paper. You can also attach appendices and other supporting documents.

Your submission should address some – or all – of the inquiry’s terms of reference. The term 1(h) – any other related matter – means that your submission does not have to exactly fit within any of the other terms of reference. Your submission may include facts, opinions, arguments or recommendations for action. The submission, once made public, is protected by parliamentary privilege.

Submissions can be mailed to The Director, Select Committee on Social, Public and Affordable Housing, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie St Sydney NSW 2000. Submissions can also be lodged online at: The closing date for submissions is Friday, February 28, 2014.

For more information on this inquiry and how to make submissions, please visit: To contact Committee Staff for assistance drafting or lodging a submission, phone (02) 9230 2111 or email

The article “Public housing and you” in the November 2013 issue of the SSH may provide useful background material to assist you in writing your submission. Public housing provides seldom-mentioned benefits to the broader community. It reduces demand in the private housing market in both the rental and purchaser sectors. This reduces the prices paid, which in turn increases the affordability of your personal housing.

At the State of Australian Cities National Conference 2012 the paper presented by Professor Patrick Troy of the Australian National University provided a detailed analysis of the history and purpose of public housing in Australia, and tracks its “progress” through to today ( In his new book, Accommodating Australians: Commonwealth Government Involvement in Housing, Pat Troy answers the question of whether affordable housing is a basic right for all Australians, like other social goods such as education, strongly in the affirmative, and chronicles a betrayal of this position over the last 60 years by numerous actors, most notably the commonwealth government.

The 2010 thesis, “Evaluating Social Housing Policy: A Wicked Problem?” by Doctor Lucy Groenhart, provides a comprehensive analysis of the history and policy of public housing in NSW. It covers the period from its inception to today. It is downloadable from

The inquiry is an opportunity to make your views known on a subject that will have an impact on all of the residents of NSW, reaching into the future of NSW. Housing, in all of its aspects, affects all sectors of the community, both present and future. Making a submission puts your views on the record for the NSW government policy makers to consider.

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