The South Australian Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects commends the South Australian Government for a commitment to halting the loss of public housing and a commitment to replenishing the State’s public housing stock which has experienced substantial losses over the past several years.
The budget included a headline announcement of 564 new public housing homes and 700 affordable housing dwellings
Measures to grow social housing, affordable housing, as well as new housing supply more generally include:
- $474.7 million Housing Package will deliver 564 new public housing dwellings and 700 social and affordable dwellings.
- Key sites include Park Court on Greenhill Road, Newton Boulevard, Playford Alive, Second and Third Street, Bowden, and Churchill/Regency Road, Prospect. Included in these numbers are 137 social and affordable housing units amongst a total of 392 apartments to be developed at 111-129 Franklin Street
- 580 public housing properties will also be withdrawn from sale.
- 25 000 new blocks will be released across Adelaide’s northern and southern suburbs.
- Stamp duty will be abolished for eligible first home buyers buying a new home valued up to $650 000, with relief progressively phased out for properties valued up to $700 000.
- For the purchase of vacant land on which a new home will be built, stamp duty will be abolished on land valued up to $400 000, with relief phasing out for land valued up to $450 000. This is estimated to assist around 3 800 first home buyers each year.
- A fast-tracked approval process will be implemented for eligible first home buyers to expedite the planning approval process to see them in their new home sooner.
How does the investment in social housing really address need?
According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data, since 2014 South Australia has seen public housing dwellings decrease dramatically from 39,422 in 2014 to 31,938 in 2021 representing a loss of almost 7,500 dwellings. While this has been partially offset by a growth in community housing by 6,413 dwellings to 12,387 it is accompanied by nearly static numbers of State Owned and Managed Indigenous Housing (SOMIH)sitting at 1,365 dwellings in 2021 and a decline in Indigenous Community Housing from around 1,100 dwellings in 2014 to 882 dwellings in 2021.
Overall these four components (Public, Community, SOMIH and Indigenous Community Housing) combine to an aggregate of social housing dwellings that deteriorated from 48,315 dwellings in 2014 to 46,572 dwellings in 2021. In other words, a reduction in stock of 3.6%. However over this same 7 year period the State’s population grew by 6.42% to 1,802,601 people.
In 2021 almost 16,000 households remained on the public housing waiting list. The situation is like a badly leaking bucket and the government are finally starting to plug the holes.
Data also shows that 7,902 public housing dwellings in 2021 were underutilised while 635 were overcrowded. This is a clear indication that new housing must be designed respond to the demographic need in terms of household size.
In Australia only 4.4% of homes are social housing dwellings – substantially less than the OECD average of 6.9% and 34.1%, 23.6% and 21.4% respectively in highly developed countries like the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark.
Our message to government is that there is no reason why public housing should not be designed for high quality. This is not about gold taps or horizon pools. It is about sustainability, durability, wellbeing and vibrant communities. Governments need to understand that good design will return sustainable buildings that are low cost for their tenants and durable – reducing maintenance outlays for the state’s public housing program. Careful design can enhance tenants’ wellbeing and create inclusive and vibrant neighbourhoods and communities in which people can thrive.
We also need to ensure careful planning so that social housing is well located for its tenants whether its access to services, shops, jobs, education and public transport. Some of the new land releases announced previously by the government should be reviewed against these objectives.
Additional detail regarding the way in which the new housing is to be designed and procured would also be welcomed.
New capital initiative summary
Announcements of additional government capital works funding in the 2023 SA State Budget that may provide government procurement opportunities for Institute members include:
- $100.8 million over two years from 2024-25 to support the delivery of the new Mount Barker Hospital. The funding is in addition to the $220 million committed in the 2022-23 Budget.
- $20 million over three years in additional funding to support the delivery of four new ambulance stations at Norwood, Woodville, Golden Grove and Edwardstown, and the complete rebuild of four existing stations at Campbelltown, Mount Barker, Gawler and Victor Harbor. This brings the total project funding to $70 million.
- $20.1 million to upgrade the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
- $2.1 million in 2023-24 to fit out and establish Emergency Department Avoidance Hubs in the western and northern suburbs.
Government School and Preschool Upgrades
- $64.7 million over four years for urgent capital works to address capacity pressures and condition and compliance works at a number of schools, including at Hackham West Children’s Centre, Plympton International College, Virginia Primary School and Preschool, and Yahl Primary School.
- $25 million in 2023-24 to upgrade, repair or replace assets at over 50 metropolitan and regional government schools and preschool sites across South Australia.
- $10.5 million in 2024-25 to support the commitment to deliver new gymnasiums at Brahma Lodge Primary School, Hillcrest Primary School, Ingle Farm East Primary School and The Pines School.
- $348.9 million over four years for new facilities to support the operations of Forensic Science SA and the SA Police Forensic Services Branch.
- $30 million over three years to upgrade prisoner accommodation and staff facilities in two high security units at Port Augusta Prison.
- $5 million in 2026-27 to commence works to build a new SA Police communications centre. The new centre will ensure SA Police can continue to respond and coordinate the response to emergencies in a fit-for-purpose building.
- $4.6 million over four years to secure and fitout a new Port Augusta Community Corrections Centre and support access to culturally appropriate rehabilitation and re-integration programs for Aboriginal offenders
- $2.7 million in 2023-24 to finalise construction of the Indulkana police post, which is part of a broader APY Lands initiative that includes the multi-agency facility in Umuwa and other police posts at Fregon and Pipalyatjara
- $1.9 million over four years for the maintenance and upgrade of soft interview rooms which support vulnerable witnesses
Major Events, Sports & Arts
- $55 million over three years in additional funding to build a new Adelaide Aquatic Centre, bringing the total project funding to $135 million
- $23.5 million over three years for upgrade works at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre.
- $20 million over four years to assist councils to address immediate and critical concerns regarding the condition and sustainability of a number of state jetties
- $3.5 million in 2023-24 to procure more shading for grandstand areas for Adelaide 500
- $15 million over three years for a package of repair works to the Adelaide Railway Station and Environs Redevelopment.