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The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) review of rent models for social and affordable housing was a commitment by the NSW Government under Future Directions for Social Housing in NSW (Future Directions).

Future Directions is a long-term strategy that sets out the NSW Government’s vision for transforming the social housing system. The Future Directions strategy is underpinned by more social housing, more opportunities, support and incentives to avoid and leave social housing and a better social housing experience.

In June 2016, the former Premier wrote to IPART instructing it to undertake a review of social and affordable housing rent models. The Terms of Reference asked IPART to recommend an appropriate rent setting framework that improves incentives for workforce participation. IPART was also asked to consider eligibility criteria, waitlist prioritisation policies and other subsidised housing assistance.

IPART released its final report to the Minister on 6 July 2017. It contains 29 recommendations about changes that could be made to the social housing system in NSW. IPART’s final report was made available by the NSW Government on 4 September 2017.

What is IPART?

IPART is an independent body that has reviewed our policies. It has a good reputation for its pricing and regulatory reviews across a wide range of sectors in NSW.

What did IPART review?

The NSW Premier set clear terms for IPART to carry out its review. We asked IPART to examine how we calculate rent and recommend a rent-setting method that improves incentives for social housing tenants to work, while retaining a safety net for the most vulnerable in the community.

We also asked IPART to look at the criteria we use to assess people’s eligibility for help with housing, our policies for prioritising certain people and managing the waitlist.

What will the NSW Government do now they have the final IPART report?

The NSW Government has already decided its position on some of IPART’s recommendations.

The NSW has formally confirmed that it does not support the 2 recommendations which would negatively affect tenant affordability. These are changes to the assessment of Family Tax Benefit Parts A & B (FTB) and the Pension Supplement for the purposes of assessing a household’s contribution to rent.

The NSW Government supports the following IPART recommendations:

  • To continue to transition Aboriginal community housing providers (ACHPs) to the same rent model as other community housing providers and to increase accountability for ACHPs, including by monitoring the rents they charge tenants.
  • To develop a Social Housing Strategy that provides clarity for social housing providers and ensures the system can flexibly respond to client needs to improve the lives of tenants.

The NSW Government will further consider the remaining IPART recommendations and their impact on tenants and applicants before making any further decisions.

It is very important that the social housing system continues to provide a safety net for the most vulnerable in our community. It is also a priority of the NSW Government to provide the right supports, opportunities and incentives to help those who can move towards housing independence, and to ensure that the system is sustainable.

The NSW Government will only consider and implement changes to the system that are fair and help to improve people’s lives.

How will the review impact me?

The NSW Government will consult widely to test how the final recommendations, if implemented, would impact clients, housing providers and the Government.

The NSW Government will only make changes that result in a better social housing system for you. We recognise that certain people, such as the frail aged and people with disability require long-term support.

You will be informed ahead of any changes that may impact you, if they occur.

Why did the NSW Government asked for this review?

Under Future Directions, the NSW Government’s 10-year plan for social housing, we are providing more opportunities, support and incentives to help social housing tenants become more independent and achieve their employment and personal goals. This review will support our work by identifying any disincentives to work so we can remove as many as possible.

As an outcome of the review, we want a housing assistance system that is affordable and easy to understand for clients. We want to provide help with housing in a way that is efficient, fair and based on your needs.

Where can I see IPART’s final report?

IPART’s final report was made available by the NSW Government on 4 September 2017.

The NSW Government response to the final report is also available.

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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019