With the Australian economy now officially in recession, a massive investment in social and affordable housing and greater support for at-risk women and children are some of the key policies needed to help NSW rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic.
That is according to the state’s peak social services body NCOSS in their updated Pre-Budget Submission to the NSW Government.
In the submission, NCOSS identifies five immediate actions for the NSW Government to implement to aid our social and economic recovery. These include:
- Building 5,000 additional units of social housing every year for the next ten years and investing $500 million in an expanded repairs and maintenance program for existing social housing stock to support jobs in the construction industry and vulnerable people into housing.
- Supporting women and children to leave violent households and avoid homelessness by increasing funding to specialist homelessness services by 20%.
- Installing health-led multidisciplinary outreach teams on two public housing estates as demonstration projects to improve care, support and coordination for public housing tenants and ease the burden on hospitals, homelessness services and the justice system.
- Establishing a Resilient Communities: Support and Connect fund to enable smaller, locally based NGOs and community groups respond to demand, reach out to those at risk and aid community well-being and recovery following disasters.
- Addressing immediate community service viability risks by setting indexation at 3%; providing access to funds to cover one-off COVID costs; delivering funding certainty and continuity through five-year contract terms; and implementing the recommendations of the Review into Disability Advocacy in NSW.
NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty said this year’s NSW Budget was an opportunity to support those most in need and position the state for an economic and social recovery that supports all citizens.
“The pandemic has sent shock waves through the economy, hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs and levels of disadvantage in our community have risen substantially,” Ms Quilty said.
“The NSW government has worked closely with the NGO sector to keep vulnerable people safe – we need to build on this positive approach to prevent widening inequality.
“The NSW economy is forecast to shrink by around 10 per cent of GDP this quarter alone and data from the ABS shows that job losses are concentrated in less affluent areas.
“We are urging the NSW Government to implement measures which support those most impacted by the pandemic and position the state for an economic recovery which lifts everyone up.
“Together we can rebuild our economy in way that supports jobs, helps the most vulnerable and creates a more equal society.”
NCOSS Media Contact: Nick Trainor 0407 078 138