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Question: Publicly Owned Builder

15 November 2023

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS (14:58): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question without notice to the minister representing the Minister for Human Services on the topic of social housing maintenance.

Leave granted.

The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: On Monday, the New South Wales government announced that they will take back control of the maintenance of their social housing properties to reverse outsourcing to the private sector. The New South Wales announcement includes a new maintenance hub within Homes NSW that will coordinate work orders and deliver better outcomes for tenants. The Greens have been calling for the establishment of a publicly owned builder who could undertake construction of new public and affordable homes and complete maintenance work as well.

My question to the minister is: will the government follow the lead of New South Wales and bring maintenance of public housing back into public hands, and will the government consider establishing a publicly owned builder to undertake construction of new public and affordable homes?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:59): I thank the honourable member for his question. Of course, we are still living with the legacy of various privatisations of particularly a previous Liberal government. I will refer this question to the Minister for Human Services in the other place and bring back a response.


1 February 2024

In reply to the Hon. R.A. SIMMS (15 November 2023).

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries): The Minister for Human Services has advised:

A media release in late 2023 announced the NSW government would be bringing a maintenance call centre back into public management, replacing the current model of maintenance contractors staffing their own individual call centres. The same announcement confirmed NSW will continue to use external tradespeople to undertake works and pricing for works will use a schedule of rates (SoR).

This will result in a similar model to South Australia that operates a single maintenance call centre to triage, scope and issue work orders while the external contractors undertake works in accordance with a SoR.

With regard building, the South Australian Housing Trust has commissioned tens of thousands of new homes since the first was put out for tender in mid-1937. This work has involved public funds supporting local business and tradespeople to build the homes. In turn, this plays a vital role in the state's economy through local employment, training of apprentices, and the use of local materials where possible.

The government has committed to grow public housing and the SA Housing Authority capital program from June 2022 to June 2026 includes more than 1,000 new homes to replace ageing stock and increase supply. This work is in addition to stopping the planned sale of 580 public housing properties.

The government will continue to consider the best ways to deliver on our commitment to boost social and affordable housing but the establishment of public owned builder is not planned at this time.