21 September 2022

TEMPORARY SPEAKER (Ms Sonia Hornery): The question is that the House take note of the report.

Ms TRISH DOYLE (Blue Mountains) (12:46): As one of the longstanding members of the Legislative Assembly Committee on Community Services, I speak briefly about the report that has just been released,Options to improve access to existing and alternate accommodation to address the social housing shortage. Rather than finishing with thanks, I firstly acknowledge and thank the committee members, who meet on a regular basis, who listened to harrowing stories during hearings and who read copious amounts of submissions to the committee, put together by hard work: the member for Oxley, the member for East Hills, the member for Albury, the member for Dubbo, the member for Holsworthy, the member for Wyong, the member for Newtown and the member for Monaro. We could not undertake that work and delve into the myriad issues around the housing crisis in this State without the hardworking committee staff. I extend to those staff my heartfelt thanks and gratitude on behalf of the committee for the incredibly long hours they worked to pull together the work of the committee into the report.

I also thank all those who are working in various capacities on this tough issue in the Blue Mountains electorate: DV West and Wimlah Women's Refuge; Junction 142; the Community Land Trust; Thrive Services; the Central Tablelands and Blue Mountains Community Legal Centre, formerly the Elizabeth Evatt Community Legal Centre, particularly their tenants' advice and advocacy service; Link Wentworth Housing; Platform Youth Services; Shelter NSW; and the Blue Mountains City Council. I also thank some organisations that have come together under the umbrella of the Rotary clubs in the Blue Mountains, particularly the Upper Blue Mountains Sunrise club and Phil Isaacs, who have put forward a couple of suggestions to help deal with the crisis.

As noted in the Chair's forward to this important report, housing stress has increased and this has affected vulnerable groups in our community. We all know that. "Meanwhile use" aims to temporarily use vacant or underused buildings to meet social or community needs. The committee welcomes the Government's interest in meanwhile use and has recommended that it develops a framework to guide the implementation of meanwhile use projects. In the short time that I have I outline that we have community housing providers working with government and community organisations to address the need to increase investment in the provision and maintenance of public and social housing so that that critical shortage of housing options is reduced.

I wanted to just note findings 1, 2 and 3, and recommendation 1: that both temporary and long-term housing are needed to help address the social housing shortage; that meanwhile use is a useful short-term option in addressing the social housing shortage; and that short-term temporary supportive accommodation cannot address the critical shortage of appropriate affordable, secure and long-term housing. Our recommendation to Government was that the New South Wales Government should continue to increase investment in the provision and maintenance of public and social housing to address the critical shortage of housing options for those who are eligible for it. It has been an honour to hear the stories of people impacted by the housing shortage. I commend the report to the House.

Report noted.