Solutions to the housing crisis exist

Action for Public Housing organised a protest outside NSW state parliament on August 16. Photo: Peter Boyle

The housing crisis could be overcome through a “new system of universally accessible housing, with rents based on ability to pay”, according to Action for Public Housing. The problem, they say, is that “the housing needs of our people come second to profit and greed” for the New South Wales Coalition government.

This was the message of the Rally for More Public Housing, organised by Action for Public Housing outside NSW parliament on August 16.

Barney Gardner, representing the now-evicted tenants of public housing residences in the inner-city suburb of Millers Point, told the crowd: "Homelessness is a national and state disgrace in this country. Around 100,000 vulnerable Australians are homeless every night.

"In New South Wales, in addition to 30,000 people who are homeless, there is a waiting list for public housing of 60,000.

"We urgently need more public housing to cater to the growing number of people requiring accommodation. The community, unions and social organisations are mobilising to insist that the state government take action on this crisis."

Greens MLA Jamie Parker told the rally: "The Coalition state government is selling off 'high value' properties, while retaining a $300 million backlog on maintenance of public housing stock. We have fought for universal Medicare and universal education; now we need universal housing as a human right."

Other speakers at the rally included Greens MLA Jenny Leong, Labor state shadow minister for social housing Tanya Mihailuk, independent MLA Alex Greenwich, Action for Public Housing’s Emily Valentine and Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer.