The provision maintenance and supply of public and affordable housing is a key issue for local councils, especially in Western Sydney which has many areas of high social disadvantage. Councils are frequently at the front line of providing critical services and facilities to public housing providers, and are responsible for the provision and maintenance of associated services such as parks and community centres, local transport solutions and the management of environmental and community health issues.
A major area of concern is the potential impact on rate incomes created by the shift away from State Government provided housing towards private sector and non-government suppliers. In this case, many of these non-government suppliers are now claiming they should be regarded as Public Benevolent Institutions and as such, should be exempted from paying council rates. This is an unfeasible proposition which has the potential to seriously impact council incomes – in the case of some larger LGAs such as Parramatta and Fairfield, by up to $5 million annually, and will place an unfair burden on other residents to support these public housing suppliers. WSROC, together with a number of other councils is seeking an urgent amendment to the Local Government Act to close this loophole and ensure that non-government housing suppliers are subject to the same rates and conditions as are currently applied to Housing NSW dwellings.
Read more in WSROC's Submission to NSW Affordable Housing Inquiry, February 2014 (466.31 kB)