The NSW government will accelerate the construction of hundreds of social housing projects to provide shelter for the vulnerable and create jobs for tradies.
It’s the latest step in the state’s economic recovery as lockdowns ease.
Treasurer Matt Kean on Saturday pledged $183 million to fast-track the build of 1400 new homes in western Sydney, Coffs Harbour and Wagga Wagga.
“This will help us bounce back better because it will create 1100 new construction jobs, largely in western Sydney,” Mr Kean declared.
The waitlist for social housing in NSW is currently 50,000 strong.
The news was immediately welcomed by the housing sector.
Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler tweeted that “any day when more vulnerable people get access to secure, affordable housing is a good day.”
Community Housing Industry Association CEO Mark Degotardi said it was welcome news for the thousands of families waiting up to 10 years for a safe home.
“In previous years a string of state governments failed to invest in building new social housing, and that’s left our state in a dire situation today.
“Our state will need 5,000 new homes every year for the next decade if we are to keep pace with soaring demand.
“It’s great to see this government stepping up to tackle the escalating housing crisis.”
Mr Degotardi earlier spoke at a press conference alongside Labor leader Chris Minns, who said he was “thrilled” at the announcement.
“This is exactly what we asked them to do, put more money into social housing,” Mr Minns said.
Social housing was a key plank in the Opposition Leader’s budget reply speech, delivered this week.
The support package includes $20 million for 45 new homes for large Aboriginal families, and another $20 million for new and upgraded social and affordable homes through the Aboriginal Community Housing Investment Fund.
An extra 990 households will get the benefit of $10 million in rent assistance.
Meanwhile, NSW recorded its lowest number of daily COVID-19 cases in over two months.
The total of 319 cases was 80 lower than the previous day.
Two more people died of the virus – a woman in her 90s who was unvaccinated, and a man in his 60s who’d received one dose.
They take the death toll of the current outbreak to 460.
The number of people in hospital also continues to fall, standing now at 652, which is 25 fewer than reported on Friday.
Some 138 of those are in intensive care, seven fewer than the previous day.
NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty urged NSW residents to get tested as testing numbers dropped by nearly 20,000 to 66,311.
“High testing numbers are still vital in finding cases so that we can suppress the spread as much as possible to keep the community safe,” he said in a video update.
The state is now nail-bitingly close to its goal of 80 per cent vaccination coverage.
Some 79.8 per cent of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated against the virus.
It’s now all but certain that Monday will see the return of community sport, the removal of caps on weddings and funerals, and the return of dancing at hospitality venues.Internet Explorer Channel Network