Foley announces $300 million housing plan

Labor has promised to match the Baird government’s commitment to release 20,000 new housing lots to alleviate Sydney’s housing affordability crisis if it wins the state election next week.
Nanjing Night Net

Opposition leader Luke Foley also committed to putting $100 million towards the development of an Aboriginal cultural centre at Barangaroo. The overall cost of the centre is not yet known and its development would rely on partnerships with private investors, philanthropy, sponsors and the federal government.

Mr Foley said a future Labor government would invest $300 million on measures to address Sydney’s housing affordability crisis.

Of that, $100 million would be spent on accelerating the development of new infrastructure projects to support new housing developments. Another $100 million would fund interest free loans for new community housing.

“I don’t want to see future generations locked out of owning their own home,” Mr Foley said.

“A Labor government will take a new approach to housing affordability by increasing land available for new homes, helping first home buyers, identifying urban renewal opportunities and supporting community housing initiatives and specialist homelessness services.”

Earlier this month, Premier Mike Baird promised to “supercharge” housing supply in NSW if his government is re-elected.

Mr Baird said he would double the target for new home sites released on government-owned land to 20,000 in the next four years for the construction of apartments, terraces and stand alone homes in suburbs across the greater Sydney metropolitan area, the Lower Hunter and the Southern Highlands.

The government nominated Rouse Hill, Campbelltown, Schofields, Thornton, Kellyville and Bella Vista along the north-west rail line as well as Newcastle, Homebush and North Eveleigh, as the areas of focus.

But it would not say how many lots would be released in which suburbs nor what the mix would be between development in established suburbs and those at the metropolitan fringe.

When making a similar announcement in Zetland on Saturday, Mr Foley provided little detail on where the 20,000 new housing lots would be located.

“We’ll work with the Greater Sydney Commission that under a Labor government will be right at the heart of government above all the silo departments to plan Sydney properly,” Mr Foley said.

“Obviously many of them will be in the north-west and south-west growth centres. But we’ll also have the Greater Sydney Commission and the premier’s council on affordable housing looking at the entire future of where we plan new housing in this city.”

Asked why Labor hadn’t provided enough housing when it was previously in government, Mr Foley said construction had been proceeding at a rapid pace until the global financial crisis hit.

Mr Foley said revelations in Fairfax Media that Mr Baird had considered quitting politics a couple of months before he became Premier suggested he would try to “sell everything that is not nailed down”. While Mr Baird would not directly say what doubts he was having, he was considering his future at a time when former Premier Barry O’Farrell would not commit publicly to privatising the electricity network. His father Bruce said his son “wanted to do poles and wires [privatisation]. That was his dream.”

In response to those comments, Mr Foley said: “Batten down the hatches. If Mike Baird is re-elected there will be a fire sale of government assets”.

Mr Foley also welcomed the involvement of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to review an attempt by the Premier’s office to influence an investment bank’s report on the government’s electricity privatisation proposal.

On Wednesday, Mr Baird admitted his office called UBS – one of two banks hired by the government to handle the proposed privatisation – after one of its analysts issued advice that the transaction would be “bad for the budget”.

The analyst then reissued its advice, removing the phrase “bad for the budget” and adding a more favourable view on the benefits of a privatisation.

“It is  not good enough seven days from the election for Mr Baird to put on his choir boy act and say, trust me. There’s a scandal here…. People need to know what happened,” Mr Foley said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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