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NSW develops ‘maintenance hub’ to deprivatise social housing fixes

By Juliet Helmke
14 November 2023 | 10 minute read
chris minns ciczkz

An app and new maintenance hub will see the government resume control of its repair request system for social housing.

The change revolves around the implementation of a “maintenance hub” within Homes NSW where issues can be reported and requests for repair can be lodged.

This will see the government deprivatise the maintenance system, which it has described as “confusing, disjointed and unworkable”.

Tenants’ requests are reportedly being stalled under the current system, with unnecessary bureaucratic processes causing some problems to go unresolved as the issue bounces between governmental departments.

The new system will see Homes NSW become the central point to triage issues, assess the scope of the work needed and issue maintenance orders to contractors.

The hub will be staffed by a team trained to address tenant questions and coordinate work orders, while tenants will be able to monitor the progress of their requests through an app that is being developed. The new maintenance hub and app are expected to be operational by mid-2024.

The government expects this change will significantly increase the speed at which maintenance issues are addressed in the state’s social housing residences. It also reports that the endeavour will cut down on the cost of the maintenance system, ultimately saving taxpayers’ money.

NSW Minister for Housing and Homelessness Rose Jackson said that it was time to acknowledge “that there have been flaws in how maintenance has been addressed in the past and it’s our job to fix that”.

Though she attributed the genesis of the issue to the former government’s privatisation of the maintenance system.

“It is clear the Liberal experiment of outsourcing jobs and contracts to private providers has failed with soaring wait times for basic maintenance and breeches of contacts rife,” Ms Jackson said.

Under the new system, she said the government would ensure “tenants no longer fall through the cracks trying to get basic issues resolved”.

The state’s Premier Chris Minns meanwhile said this was an important facet of addressing the state’s supply issues.

“We have a housing crisis in New South Wales, and we are working across the government to address the challenges, including maintaining the liveability of our social housing properties.”

“This announcement is an important step in simplifying the social housing maintenance system to deliver better outcomes for residents and taxpayers.

“Everyone deserves access to safe and secure shelter without having to jump through hoops to ensure essential maintenance is done,” Mr Minns said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Juliet Helmke

Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.

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