NSW Premier Mike Baird and Family and Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton today announced a re-elected Baird Government will crack down on anti-social and illegal behaviour in public housing communities and evict tenants who commit serious crimes.
“Public housing is a privilege, not a right. We will have no tolerance for people who don’t play by the rules and who make other people’s lives a misery,” Mr Baird said.
“I am sick and tired of a small criminal element terrorising their neighbours and selling drugs in public housing.
“That is why we are increasing powers to immediately kick out serious criminals in public housing.
“We will also introduce a three-strikes policy for public housing tenants who continually break the rules.
“People living in social housing want us to take strong action against those who do the wrong thing.
“A recent survey of public housing tenants found about two-thirds of them think illegal behaviour is a problem in public housing and about 30 per cent have experienced or witnessed serious crime.
“The big winners from today’s announcement are the vast majority of good people in social housing. For too long they have had to put up with the poor behaviour of a minority.
“We have almost 60,000 people on the waiting list, which is why we are ensuring we penalise those who commit serious crimes in public housing.”
A re-elected Baird Government will:
· Introduce a One Strike policy for those who seriously breach their tenancy agreement, so that the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal must terminate a tenancy where it is proven that the individual has committed certain serious criminal offences – including serious drug crimes;
· Implement a Three Strikes policy so that Family and Community Services officials can issue a Notice of Termination if a tenant has received three Breach of Tenancy Agreement notices in a 12 month period;
· Introduce 12 month probationary leases for public housing tenancies of longer than two years;
· Introduce confidential Neighbour Impact Statements so the Tribunal has to take account of the impact of bad behaviour on neighbours and neighbours are protected from recriminations; and
· Change the law to ensure that tenants that do not pay rent can be evicted.
Minister Upton said the Baird Government will also deliver a $20 million Social Housing Community Improvement Fund to improve the liveability and amenity of social housing communities.
“The fund will enable local community groups, local councils, private sector organisations or a combination of these to deliver projects that communities want and need,” Ms Upton said.
“Grants of up to $50,000 per project will be available for projects that improve community infrastructure, enhance open spaces, improve safety, increase accessibility for older people or people with disability or facilitate integration between social housing and the broader community.
“Small projects, like creating a community garden or improving a community centre, can make a big difference to communities and people.
“Since 2011, we have taken important steps to make social housing better including making waiting lists transparent to help people make better decisions, cracking down on rorters and introducing measures so more people can access housing and released Social Housing in NSW: A discussion paper for input and comment, to guide future reforms.”