Policy Priorities

View CHIA NSW’s policy focuses and priorities

Priority 1: A stronger, fairer housing system

The housing market in NSW is currently failing to provide safe, secure, and affordable housing for tens of thousands of individuals and families.

More than 50,000 people are on the waiting list for social housing in NSW. Some people will be left waiting for 10 years or more to be housed, forcing people to pay unaffordable rents, live in substandard housing, or, at worst, into homelessness.

Social housing supply is not keeping pace with population growth or demand. By 2036, it is estimated that NSW will have a shortage of 213,200 social housing homes.

The shortage of social housing is further compounded by ageing social housing stock which is no longer fit-for-purpose, or, in some cases, habitation. The current backlog of social housing maintenance is estimated to be between $350 million and $400 million.

Building more social housing and repairing and maintaining existing supply will create new jobs in the construction sector, provide safe homes for people in greatest need, and future-proof Australia’s housing supply.


• Establish a dedicated NSW Government capital fund to build 5,000 new social housing properties every year for ten years.

• Invest $500 million in a comprehensive maintenance program across the entire NSW social housing portfolio.

Priority 2: Building better communities and kickstarting the economy

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant damage to the Australian economy, businesses, and employment. Social housing is vital infrastructure for Australia’s economic security, with proven capacity to create new jobs, kickstart the economy, and address current social housing shortfall. The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation has recently shown that, for every $1 million invested in social housing development, an average of nine FTE jobs are created.

Over the last decade, the community housing sector in NSW has grown rapidly and has even greater capacity to build new homes. Since 2012, the community housing sector has invested more than $1.82 billion in new housing supply across NSW. More than 5,300 new homes have been built by community housing providers over the last ten years. By supporting the sustainable growth of the community housing sector, the Federal and State Government can create new jobs and invest in the future of local communities.


• Review existing funding mechanisms and operating subsidies for community housing, with the objective of identifying the most efficient and sustainable models to deliver social and affordable housing.

• Resume title transfers to community housing providers as part of the Social Housing Capital Growth Fund or other transfer program.

• Prioritise CHP-led development of government owned land that delivers diverse and affordable housing models that are market leading and that demonstrate sustainability for communities and developers.

Priority 3: A world-class planning system

The NSW planning system provides numerous opportunities for the community housing sector, local governments, private developers, and financiers to deliver an increased supply of affordable housing. These approaches include planning agreements, inclusionary zoning, and density bonuses, amongst others.

Despite these efforts, the NSW planning system has made a minimal contribution to the supply of affordable housing. For example, the Affordable Rental Housing State Environmental Planning Policy and Voluntary Planning Agreements contributed between 0.5 and 1 per cent of Sydney’s housing supply over an eight-year period.

There are various strategies that the NSW Government and local councils can introduce to support community housing providers and developers to deliver an increased supply of affordable housing throughout NSW.


• Introduce new or streamlined development approvals for CHPs to fast-track affordable housing projects and reduce planning and delivery costs

Priority 4: End homelessness in NSW

Homelessness has significant economic and social costs for individuals and families.

On Census night 2016, 28,190 people were homeless in NSW.

With the onset of COVID-19, it is estimated that an additional 16,400 people in NSW are at risk of homelessness due to COVID-19 related unemployment.

The NSW Government’s $65 million investment in the Together Home program is already providing housing and support services to hundreds of former rough sleepers. With ongoing investment in housing and support services, the NSW Government can not only reduce – but end homelessness in NSW.


• End homelessness in NSW by developing and committing to an action plan that addresses the key causes of homelessness with the goal of ending homelessness in NSW by 2028.

• Increase the number of leasehold properties available through community housing providers and urgently respond to the growing demand for permanent housing options for people in crisis or temporary accommodation.