Wednesday, February 28, 2024
HomeNewsWaterloo South to proceed with 50 per cent social and affordable housing

Waterloo South to proceed with 50 per cent social and affordable housing

The NSW government has brought some clarity for Waterloo tenants revealing that Waterloo South will proceed with at least half the units being social or affordable housing, up from the earlier 35.8 per cent. Many details are to be worked through with the successful tender but Minister Jackson said each developer was prepared to proceed with the new targets. The land used for private portion of the development will still be sold for the private buildings but if ways can be found to deliver more social and affordable housing the government will deliver it.

The development will now see social housing increase from 28 per cent to 30 per cent (from 847 to 900 units) and affordable housing increase from 7.5 per cent to 20 per cent (from 227 to 600 units). In addition, a minimum of 15 per cent of both the social and affordable housing will be dedicated to Aboriginal people. This means Aboriginal affordable housing goes from 23 to 90 units – an increase roughly the size of the Pemulwuy project.

Ms Jackson was unable to confirm that all the affordable housing would be in perpetuity as proposed earlier. She said this would need to be worked out depending on what the developers come back with. Some of the housing may be affordable for only 15, 20 or 25 years she said.

Also covered in the announcement was a delay until mid-2024 of any relocation notices which give tenants six month notice before any move. Jackson committed to working more closely with tenants and announced that the Waterloo Connect Office will reopen. With the green light from the Minister, expect to see NSW Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) back on the ground talking to tenants.

As a sign of doing things differently tenants were letterboxed a couple of days before the public announcement. It was greatly appreciated that they were not informed about their future through the media.

While the increase in affordable housing must be welcomed, it is disappointing that the LAHC plan only lifted social housing to 30 per cent. The extra 53 units will not make a dint in the waitlist or the wait times and the government has much more work to do to find ways of funding more social housing on the public housing land it already owns. If the same approach was taken on the Waterloo high-rises to deliver 3,000 redeveloped units it would result in a loss of 363 social housing units. The government has several years to design a system to address that problem but the longer it waits the longer the wait list and the wait times become.

Local Member Ron Hoenig was asked if the decision was in line with his pre-election texts that Labor would stop the selloff and privatisation of public housing land. Mr Hoenig said it was not a selloff because it involved the renewal of public and social housing. Many tenants will not see a distinction. Greens Housing spokesperson Jenny Leong said the NSW Labor government has broken an election promise by pushing ahead with plans to privatise half the estate; a view echoed by Action for Public Housing. You can see these and other reactions and analysis on the REDWatch website. REDWatch has invited LAHC to its September 7 meeting.

Geoffrey Turnbull is a co-spokesperson for REDWatch.


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