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Phillips: South Coast Housing Crisis Reaching Breaking Point

New figures released in January show the South Coast has the lowest rental vacancy rate in NSW, demonstrating what Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP says is an escalation of the local housing crisis.

The Real Estate Institute of New South Wales’ (REINSW) Residential Vacancy Rate Report shows that in 2020, the South Coast’s rental vacancy rate slipped from a peak of 4.8 per cent in March to only 0.3% in December 2020.

“I have been raising concerns about housing availability on the South Coast for months, and these new figures demonstrate the urgency of the situation,” Mrs Phillips said.

The Gilmore MP said governments at all levels have known about the housing crisis on the NSW South Coast but have not taken urgent enough action to prevent this situation reaching breaking point.

COVID-19 has shown us new ways of living and working, so many people have taken that opportunity to make a sea change. Mrs Phillips said it is wonderful that people are choosing the South Coast as their new home – but what we are seeing unfold is an absolute crisis not just in rental availability, but also in housing affordability more generally.

“Social housing waitlists are out of control and people are telling me they are waiting years for priority housing. Governments at all levels need to get serious about addressing this crisis now,” Fiona Phillips said.

“The housing crisis on the South Coast is not new. The NSW and Federal Governments have known for years that we needed urgent investment in affordable housing, but they have squandered opportunity after opportunity to fix it,” she said.

Mrs Phillips has previously raised concerns that the government’s HomeBuilder program was not targeted appropriately to those who needed housing assistance. Prior to the budget, she also called on the government to invest in local affordable housing projects like the one in Bomaderry as part of its COVID-19 stimulus response.

However, the Morrison Government has refused these suggestions at every turn, instead handing out cash so people in the city can renovate their mansions.

“After raising my concerns about this very issue with the NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, the reply I received earlier this month was nothing short of disappointing – no real solutions, no real plan,” Fiona Phillips said.

“Local people can no longer afford to wait – they need action from the government now,” she said.