Citizenship starts in the home. The home is where our identities are formed and found, where children should have safety and security – a refuge if you will – from the pressures of school and perhaps bullying, from expectations of peers and the woke world rising around them. It should be the place where citizenship starts and humanity flourishes. It should be, but we know it is not always that way.
Do we even understand the impact on the lack of affordable housing on so many families across our State? Do we realise the rapidly growing numbers, or have we become desensitised to the significant number of families now struggling with poverty? Do we quietly ignore the fate of those struggling families in our State where house rentals are absorbing 50-70% of their flattening wages and increasing rates, food, and fuel prices? They won’t be able to afford an electric car, rising tolls, or go to the new stadium and other offerings covered in this budget.
“If we do not first start with attention to this very basic human right, then many of the places where the budget is being distributed will end up being a band-aid response at best. We acknowledge the importance of sectors which feed into our economy who have received funding, but let’s also get the foundations of our humanity settings right.” said Churches Housing CEO, Rose Thomson.
Do we really think our racetracks and the thoroughbred industry [$67 million] and the resulting gambling are more important than housing upward of 50,000 people in our State? Many face eviction, cannot find a warm bed, or a place they can rent at an affordable rate. What happens in our NSW communities if more of our families spiral downward instead of upwards?
We all agree that we need to look at matters of climate and emissions. But do we really agree that the very populist commitment of $500million on electric car programs when according to the Union of Concerned Scientists “…at the end of the manufacturing process itself, electric cars have generated more carbon emissions.” To produce the batteries needed to power these cars, rare earth minerals are being used up. And what happens next? How are lithium-ion batteries being handled when they are no longer useful for electric cars?
But never mind, let’s just spend $500 million – and not ensure the need for a safe and secure home is met for too many of our citizens, let alone purchasing an electric car.
Now don’t get us wrong, we acknowledge that there are some good things in the budget that look after our people. Spends that improve our transport, education, and health services, that provide jobs through infrastructure projects and support business and growth. We appreciate the ongoing funding for the Together Home program – but perhaps another band aid solution in the growing crisis of affordable housing.
There is a sense of excitement that we have bounced back from the anticipated economic doom of an unprecedented pandemic. But while the economy has done well, we should have stopped to seriously consider fundamental social foundations before budget distributions were made. 800 social housing properties is nice, but not nearly enough with 50,000 applications for an affordable home and 5000 of those in priority situations. What happens in our NSW communities if more of our families spiral downward instead of upwards?
Professor Matthew Desmond a sociologist at Princeton University tells us “We can start with housing, the sturdiest of footholds for economic mobility. A national affordable housing program would be an anti-poverty effort, human capital investment, community improvement plan, and public health initiative all rolled into one.”
What kind of citizens are we? What kind of society do we want in NSW? NSW could have led the way.
 See full referenced article ‘Are Electric Cars Really Greener?” at https://youmatter.world/en/are-electric-cars-eco-friendly-and-zero-emission-vehicles-26440/