NSW is embarking on a new era of social housing with a large scale building program which will generate $22 billion in construction activity in NSW and produce better social outcomes for the community.
Minister for Social Housing Brad Hazzard said the program, 'Future Directions in NSW Social Housing,' was a ten year reform that will deliver more housing, better opportunities for independence and better services for vulnerable households.
The program includes new partnership between the private and non-government sectors to deliver more homes at a minimal cost to taxpayers and ensures better outcomes for the community through:
* 23,500 new and replacement social and affordable housing dwellings, to help reduce the waiting list.
* Increasing the use of private rental assistance products by 60% to help vulnerable households avoid or leave social housing.
* Delivering new mixed communities where social housing blends in with private housing.
* Producing better amenity and environment and improved safety for public and private residents.
* Transferring management of up to 35% of social housing to community housing providers, with longer term leases to be determined on a case by case basis.
"We are looking to the innovation of the private and non-government sectors to redevelop old public housing estates into mixed communities which will put thousands of people in social housing on a better path," Mr Hazzard said.
"Children in social housing should not see disadvantage as their only future. It does them good to see their neighbours in private housing going to a job each day."
The Future Directions program is in addition to the Social and Affordable Housing Fund which will deliver 3,000 new social and affordable dwellings across NSW.
"The NSW Government is committed to reducing homelessness and breaking the cycle of disadvantage. Providing more social housing and ensuring the necessary support services are available for those in social housing is vitally important," Mr Hazzard said.
"We're also providing support and incentives to help people successfully transition out of the social housing system, and assistance to help people avoid entering it in the first place, with more support to vulnerable households in the private rental market."
"While some people need social housing in the long term, for others it should be a stepping stone to employment. We will provide opportunities for those people to get training, find a job and move into the private rental market."
* For the first time agencies including Health, Education, Justice, Planning and Environment, Industry and Family and Community Services are providing integrated services.
* Early childhood centres will be opened at some housing estates to give children that vital start to education.
* NSW Health will deliver a home visiting program for mothers and babies in social housing areas and where possible, co-locate mental health teams within FACS districts.
* Vulnerable young people and women and children fleeing domestic and family violence to be assisted through new and expanded rental subsidies.
* Review FACS housing policies to remove disincentives to work.
* Increase tenant satisfaction and improve maintenance and on-site job opportunities for tenants through the new maintenance contract.
* Introduce rental bonds for new tenants and work with the Commonwealth to investigate an automatic rent deduction scheme for new tenants receiving welfare payments to improve housing stability and prevent homelessness.
"The Liberals & Nationals Government under Premier Mike Baird has made reducing homelessness and making social housing sustainable a state priority and these reforms will go a long way to delivering that," Mr Hazzard said.
For a copy of Future Directions go to http://www.socialhousing.nsw.gov.au
With three weeks until nominations close for the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes, Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel called on Australians to keep the great stories coming forward.
“As Chief Scientist, I am encouraged every day by the science stories I hear,” said Dr Finkel. “The depth and breadth of our science community is extraordinary, and its contribution to our nation is profound.
“The prizes celebrate the teachers, researchers and entrepreneurs who show us just how exciting our future might be – with the winners receiving substantial prize money.”
This year the prizes include a new award, the Prize for New Innovators, celebrating early career researchers putting knowledge to work in the community.
“Today, more than ever, we need to recognise that achievement in science takes many forms. We need great scientists – but we also need great teachers, business innovators and community leaders,” Dr Finkel said.
The Chief Scientist will chair the selection committee for the prizes.
Now in their 16th year, the Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science recognise the significant advancement of knowledge through scientific research, innovation and teaching.
For further details about the prizes and to nominate, visit Science Prizes.
A series of community education sessions hosted by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are commencing across the country in the coming weeks, with a focus on Australian tax obligations and foreign investment in Australia.
Of particular interest to any investors or professional representatives in the areas of real estate or property management, the sessions will explain the key changes to the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 and how this affects international property investment in Australia.
Events will be held in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, beginning from April and ending in May. All sessions will be conducted in both English and Mandarin.
More information and registration links for all available sessions can be found on the ATO website at ato.gov.au/InternationalTaxEducation
Parramatta City Council will take its regular meetings to its neighbourhoods providing a chance for communities to meet their Councillors and witness democracy in action.
The next meeting will be held at the Reg Byrne Community Centre in Wentworthville on Monday 11 April when residents will have a chance to mingle with councillors and enjoy a free sausage sizzle from 5.30pm.
Caroline Chisholm and Arthur Phillip Ward Councillors will be on hand to discuss local projects and ward issues before the Council meeting commences at 6.45pm.
“I am very pleased that we have the opportunity to take our Council meetings to the neighbourhoods. At the end of last year I called for 2016 to be dedicated to ‘Our Community, The People We Serve’ and this is part of fulfilling our promise to focus on our neighbourhoods and the issues that are important to our residents,” Lord Mayor of Parramatta Cr Paul Garrard said.
“I encourage you to come along and meet those who serve your community, learn about what Council is doing to improve your neighbourhood, tell us what you would like to see in your suburb and ask any questions you may have about issues in your area.”
Council meetings have been held at a temporary location at Granville Town Hall since the Council Chambers building closed in December in preparation for the development of a new world-class civic and community building in Parramatta Square.
Upcoming Council meeting locations:
Monday 11 April - Reg Byrne Community Centre, Wentworthville
Tuesday 26 April - Granville Town Hall
Monday 9 May - Riverside Theatres, Lennox Theatre
Monday 23 May - Ermington Community Hall
Tuesday 14 June - Dundas Community Hall
Monday 27 June - Granville Town Hall
Monday 11 July - Granville Town Hall
Monday 25 July - Granville Town Hall
For media enquiries please contact: Parramatta City Council Media Advisors:
Alice Coote Terry Aylett
t: 02 9806 5803 t: 02 9806 5056
m: 0427 905 885 m: 0409 712 815