In the midst of an increasing housing affordability crisis, the Newcastle Greens are drawing attention to evaporating affordable rental homes.
The National Affordability Rental Scheme (NRAS), which was discontinued by the Abbot government in 2014, has a number of properties in our suburbs which have 10 year affordability commitments built into their contracts. These are due to expire in concerning numbers in the coming years with the entire NRAS stock being handed over to the market by the end of 2026.
The following figures have been taken from the most recent NRAS quarterly report.
It shows that Newcastle will lose 226 affordable rental properties over the next six years with 152 properties expiring in 2024 alone.
Number of Newcastle properties due to expire per calendar year:
NRAS Quarterly report, March 2021.
“We are extremely concerned about the lack of planning from all levels of government to address this housing crisis.” Said Ward 2 Greens candidate, Charlotte McCabe.
“Councillors and council staff must be aware of this NRAS sunset clause but there’s no commitment to replacing these affordable rental homes, let alone seriously tackling increasing the supply of affordable and social housing.”
“The NRAS expiries are adding yet another layer of pressure to an already dire situation in Newcastle.”
“The Greens are committing to the creation of a 15% affordable housing levy on infill developments in the high density and catalyst areas of the city. The council has had the ability to implement this levy since February 2019 but have failed to put anything in place while we watch huge towers spring up across our city. It’s a wasted opportunity that we’ll never get back from the developments approved over the last two and a half years. The Greens will ensure there is no further delay.”
Greens councillor and Lord Mayoral candidate John Mackenzie was responsible for the motion in March 2019 where council agreed to establish an affordable housing levy scheme, but it is still yet to be implemented.
Councillor Mackenzie said, “We know that more than 7,000 social and affordable housing units need to be built in by 2040 in Newcastle alone, but right now fewer than 130 are in the pipeline. The loss of NRAS units means that we are going backwards on housing affordability.”
Councillor Mackenzie said, “Relying on developer incentives to deliver affordability has failed. Our region has the state’s largest gap in social and affordable housing compared to demand. More than 1,900 households remain in a desperate situation on the waiting list for affordable housing in Newcastle, and we have unprecedented levels of turnaway from homelessness services.”
For further comment contact:
Charlotte McCabe: Greens Ward 2 candidate
0421 728 780
John MacKenzie: Greens Ward 1 councillor
0408 533 010
NRAS Background information
The National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) was introduced by the Rudd government and dismantled by the succeeding Coalition. It aimed to encourage medium to large scale investment in affordable housing.
The scheme took applications from approved participants to build affordable rental housing (at least 20% below market rate). The rental affordability was ensured through a commitment from commonwealth and state governments to offer annual incentives for up to 10 years. Approved participants could be property developers, not-for-profit organisations and community housing providers.
The intention was to have affordable housing stock continually added so that as the 10 year contracts expired there would be additional houses built to replace them.