Premier Chris Minns: NSW budget pulling every lever to tackle housing crisis

Abe Maddison
The NSW budget will provide $450 million to build apartments for essential workers.
The NSW budget will provide $450 million to build apartments for essential workers. Credit: Darren England /AAP

A $450 million investment to build apartments for essential workers headlines the Minns Labor Government’s budget strategy to tackle the housing crisis head-on.

As announcements flow thick and fast ahead of Treasurer Daniel Mookhey’s budget on Tuesday, the government released details of its plan to accommodate essential workers, including nurses, paramedics, teachers, allied health care workers, police officers and fire fighters to rent at subsidised rates.

Landcom, the government’s residential development arm, will buy up to four sites to build more than 400 new build-to-rent dwellings in the next three years.

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Housing affordability and availability is the biggest single pressure facing the people of NSW, with mortgage payments or rent the largest expense for most households, particularly for essential workers, Premier Chris Minns said.

“NSW would grind to a halt without nurses, paramedics, teachers, police officers and firefighters, but many can’t afford a place to live in Sydney, close to where they work,” he said on Sunday.

“This has to change. We’re pulling every lever we have to tackle the housing crisis and one of the best ways to make rentals more affordable is to build more homes.”

Landcom will start detailed planning work, and subject to planning approvals, work on the first site will begin in early 2026 with key workers able to move in from late 2027.

Eligibility criteria, details on how to apply and the rental subsidy will be available closer to the completion of the first project, expected in 2027.

Landcom will select sites with a preference for surplus government land identified as being suitable for housing with the specific locations to be determined.

The government will retain ownership of the housing with rental income available to help fund a potential future expansion of the worker housing program.

The government will also invest $8.4 million into the work of the Rental Commissioner to deliver investigators, inspectors and support teams to engage with renters, target dodgy agents and act on serious breaches of rental laws.

The Taskforce in Fair Trading, led by the commissioner, will be given a mandate to crackdown on poor quality rental homes and bad behaviour from dodgy agents and owners, in the nation’s biggest rental market.

Another major budget commitment is $83.1 million over the next four years to retain expert TAFE NSW teachers.

With an estimated 48 per cent of TAFE NSW’s teaching workforce not permanently employed, the funds will be spent offering teachers permanent jobs.

The job security of firefighters will be strengthened with an extra $189.5 million over four years to guarantee the positions of the 286 existing firefighters whose roles did not previously have ongoing funding,

There is also $15.4 million to buy land and build a new 24-hour fire station at Badgerys Creek equipped with three new appliances.

A $15 million vaccination initiative will focus on improving vaccination rates for target groups, including people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities and people with chronic illnesses.

The program will aim to improve uptake of a range of vaccines, including influenza, shingles and pneumococcal vaccination for eligible cohorts.

The investment will fund more NSW Health staff to administer vaccines, and training for existing NSW Health clinical services staff, as well as health promotion, education and community engagement activities.

Funding of $2.5 million will help ensure compliance with the July 1 ban on the use, supply, and manufacture of engineered stone. There will also be stronger regulation of all other materials containing crystalline silica.

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