Budget 2021-22, released today by the Northern Territory Government, contains little joy for the increasing number of Territorians waiting years for access to social housing in our urban centres, according to housing and homelessness peak body NT Shelter.
Executive Officer Peter McMillan said that given the ever growing shortfall in social and affordable housing, even a modest increase in funding for new builds or stimulus programs would have made a real difference.
“People already waiting around 8 years on public housing wait lists and hearing about plans to knock down public housing complexes in Darwin and Palmerston will probably question what if any opportunities the comeback will deliver for them”, he said.
Mr McMillan said that while there was much needed housing investment continuing to occur across remote communities, this was of little consolation for urban public housing waitlisters, the number of whom had grown by 22% over the past two years alone.
“However, we are encouraged by today’s news of the release of 5,000 residential lots for development in Holze and Kowandi and the prospects of land being released for development elsewhere.” he said.
Mr McMillan said it was crucial that future residential land release included development requirements for a minimum proportion of social and affordable housing, an approach increasingly being introduced across Australia.
“It’s important that we have enough housing available to support jobs and population growth, but we also need to have a sufficient mix of housing stock that is affordable for rent, especially in a very tight housing market”.
NT Shelter will meet with Team Territory in May to discuss the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission’s recommendation to establish a sustainable community housing industry in the Territory to deliver more social and affordable housing.
“That work, done well, provides the best prospects at the moment for resetting the way that social housing is delivered, as the current system is failing to make any inroads to address need”, Mr McMillan said.