Supporting Economic Recovery in NSW: Investment in Social and Affordable Housing is Critical to Supporting Jobs Today and Families into the Future
Supporting Economic Recovery in NSW: Investment in Social and Affordable Housing is Critical to Supporting Jobs Today and Families into the Future is a new report by Equity Economics in collaboration with NCOSS, Shelter NSW, Community Housing Industry Association NSW, Tenants' Union of NSW and Homelessness NSW.
Hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs and are facing financial hardship for the first time. The economy must now recover at a time of record levels of household debt and without the support of drivers of growth, including international migration. The NSW government will need to invest to sustain a recovery for the people of NSW, our communities and the economy.
The most immediate challenges emerging from the crisis are rapidly rising unemployment, widespread failure of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), falling incomes and wealth and, perhaps most concerningly, rising inequality and disadvantage. The optimal fiscal policy response will simultaneously address each of these challenges. Few policy levers present such a solution, the exception being a greater investment in social and affordable housing.
In this report, we analyse the economic and social benefits of:
- Building additional social and affordable housing stock across NSW, to recharge the economy;
- Repairing old social housing stock, further boosting employment;
- Rapidly acquiring available properties in the private market to find a permanent solution for rough sleepers and others in temporary/crisis accommodation.
Read the report here:
Cost of Living in NSW: Austerity hits home
Cost of Living in NSW: Austerity hits home is the latest annual report from NCOSS looking at the cost of living for low income households in NSW. It outlines the findings of an online survey conducted in May 2019 and completed by 730 people across NSW. The survey aimed to provide a cost of living snapshot by collecting information on household budget priorities, expenditure on essential goods and services and experiences of financial stress and hardship.
Many of the key findings in the 2019 Cost of Living in NSW report are now likely to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. NCOSS has developed a supplementary paper calling on the NSW Government to ease the pressure on households in NSW, create jobs and stimulate economic activity by:
- Boosting the supply of social and affordable housing
- Establishing a Resilient Communities - Support and Connect fund
- Partnering with a suitable academic institution and NCOSS to create a NSW Institute for the Social Services Industry (NISSI).
The Cost of Staying Connected: Telecommunications findings from the 2019 Cost of Living in NSW survey
Australians as a whole are more digitally connected than ever before – we are connecting more devices to the internet, consuming more data, participating in a greater range of social, cultural, and economic activities and accessing more essential services on-line. A growing share of household income is now spent on internet services. Access to technology and telecommunication services impact on people’s capacity to stay connected, both socially and economically. Without access and connection many people are at risk of disadvantage that extends beyond ‘disconnection’.
The 2019 Cost of Living in NSW survey was completed by 730 people living in low-income and low- to middle-income households in May 2019. The results presented here are drawn from responses to questions on usage, access and the cost of telecommunications services. This data provides insight into the challenges faced by households to stay connected. It confirms the digital divide facing many, and the particular groups most at risk.
Protecting the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis
The rapidly developing COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) crisis is having a significant and increasing impact on vulnerable communities. Early on, NCOSS worked with Homelessness NSW to urgently highlight the need for increased resources to support rough sleepers, those experiencing housing stress, and social housing tenants, given their heightened vulnerability at this time. We sent a joint letter to the Premier, Treasurer and Minister Ward calling on the Government to provide for rapid rehousing, multi-disciplinary outreach and a moratorium on evictions for people in private rentals.
Continued advocacy led by Homelessness NSW has seen an additional $34 million announced by the State Government on 27 March to expand temporary accommodation and rental products, as well as increased flexibility for services to respond appropriately. This has been a major achievement. NCOSS has also advocated to the NSW Treasurer to push his federal colleagues to see investment in social and affordable housing as essential infrastructure that will serve as an economic stimulus and create jobs. We are calling for a financial package of support for the sector and other initiatives which will grow jobs and support vulnerable people.
In addition to our ongoing policy and advocacy efforts around COVID-19, we continue to update our sector resource with relevant information around service continuity, financial and other supports for services and clients.
NCOSS Pre-Budget Submission 2020-21
The 2020-21 NSW Budget has been deferred from June 2020 to later in the year. In the interim, NCOSS has developed a Pre-Budget Submission that asks the NSW Government to prioritise 2020-21 investment in measures that will:
- Address the cost of living for households under pressure
- Create economic opportunities for those who are missing out
- Support a viable, stable and diverse community services sector
NSW Women's Alliance emergency briefing on COVID-19
The NSW Women’s Alliance has developed an emergency briefing on COVID-19 that highlights key challenges and measures to support women, children, young and LGBTIQ people experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence during the COVID-19 crisis. NCOSS is a member of the Women’s Alliance along with state-wide and peak organisations working with women, families, children, young people and communities impacted by sexual, domestic and family violence.
Health impacts of exposure to poor levels of air quality resulting from bushfires and drought
NCOSS has made a submission to the NSW Parliament inquiry into the health impacts of exposure to poor levels of air quality resulting from bushfires and drought. We respond to the inquiry’s Terms of Reference regarding the impact on the health and wellbeing of particular at-risk groups, and highlight the heightened need to provide for these groups during disaster events. This includes people who were already living with limited resources and unable to seek shelter from hazardous air quality and other environmental conditions due to the 2019-20 bushfires.
Mapping Economic Disadvantage in Fire Affected Communities
This report profiles five areas impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires and identified as having high levels of disadvantage. We present data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) regarding each region alongside findings from the NCOSS Mapping Economic Disadvantage in NSW resource.
Many more communities experiencing already high levels of disadvantage have been impacted by the bushfires than those profiled in this report. Detailed information, identifying poverty rates by location and for different demographic groups, for those bushfire impacted areas across the state can be accessed via updated NATSEM/NCOSS interactive maps at: http://bit.ly/3cTdKr6
Review on Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility
The Councils of Social Service Network has made a joint statement to the Council of Attorneys-General (CAG) Working Group in response to the review on raising the age of criminal responsibility. The statement highlights that the laws dictating the age of criminal responsibility in all states, territories and the Commonwealth need to be reformed in line with key principles, the first being that the minimum age of criminal responsibility should be raised to at least 14 years.
National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2019
The National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2019 provide important safeguards that protect consumers against unfair credit practices that have persisted in the fringe finance industry by consumer lease providers and Small Amount Credit Contracts. This submission outlines why these reforms are crucial for people living with disadvantage and provides feedback on how to strengthen key provisions to ensure vulnerable consumers benefit from the full protection of the law.
Draft Health Care and Social Assistance Sector Plan
NCOSS provided feedback on the Health Care and Social Assistance Work Health and Safety Sector Plan to 2022, highlighting the relationship between characteristics of the operating environment and psychological wellbeing of workers.
Equal Remuneration Order supplementation
NCOSS recently wrote to the Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP, NSW Treasurer, to seek commitment from the NSW Government to address indexation and Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) supplementation issues in future funding arrangements for community sector organisations in NSW. NCOSS is seeking the Treasurer's support to ensure that contractual arrangements for community sector organisations include annual indexation of 3% and ongoing ERO supplementation that is built into baseline funding.
NSW Productivity Commission Discussion Paper
NCOSS made a submission to the NSW Productivity Commission Discussion Paper Kickstarting the productivity conversation. NCOSS calls on the NSW Government to use the productivity reform agenda to strategically target the community services sector – part of the fast growing healthcare and social assistance industry – to help address existing and impending vulnerabilities in the NSW economy, address future demand and support those who are at risk of disadvantage in the community. NCOSS also advocates for the community services sector, research institutions and the NSW Government to work together to create a whole of Community Services Industry Plan for NSW that articulates the vision of a thriving sector and the steps needed over the next 10 years to achieve that vision. Our recommendations provide opportunities for the NSW Government to support continued growth in the state’s living standards and the wellbeing of its whole population.
Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety
NCOSS made a submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. NCOSS calls on federal, state and territory governments to improve the accessibility of My Aged Care and the broader system, particularly for older people from diverse backgrounds. NCOSS also calls for more funding that enables service providers to respond flexibly to diverse needs, resources more social inclusion initiatives and provides adequately for carer support, resources and respite.
Senate inquiry into Newstart and related payments
NCOSS made a brief submission to the federal Senate inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia. Our submission calls for the Commonwealth Government to raise the rate of Newstart and related payments.