As Victoria heads to the polls and NSW gears up for a March election, the contrasting records of the respective governments on public housing make for interesting reading.
In both states, the financial crisis-era stimulus packages saw thousands of new public housing dwellings built, funded by the Rudd government, particularly in NSW, where several thousand social housing dwellings were approved under the then-Labor government in the first half of 2010. Once the stimulus packages ended, however, both states cut back on new housing, until the Baillieu and O’Farrell governments again increased funding for public housing in their states. However, successive Victorian governments, including Daniel Andrews’, have run a distant second to NSW since then.
The O’Farrell/Baird/Berejiklian governments have had average of 55 social housing dwellings approved every month since coming into office, in trend terms. The Andrews government since late 2014 has only approved about half that, 28 dwellings a month. Nor can Victorian Labor blame the previous Liberal government: social housing approvals actually fell in Victoria across 2015 and 2016 and only began recovering to the levels of the Napthine government in 2017.
For much of 2016, the Victorian Labor government’s social housing policies saw monthly approvals barely into double figures. In NSW, approvals have come off the strong levels of 2015 and 2016, but have still been ahead of Victoria for most of the period since the start of 2017.
When it comes to building public housing, the data shows Liberals are the ones who get the job done.