The NSW government will try to lift its status as one of the state's worst landlords with an overhaul of how public housing repairs are handled in an attempt to clear a backlog of necessary maintenance.
Existing private contracts for overseeing the maintenance of social housing properties will not be renewed as Labor instead sets up a single "maintenance hub" to handle repair requests.
New state agency Homes NSW will triage requests and issue work orders for private contractors in a bid to rein in a maintenance backlog, the government said on Monday.
A government-run call centre and app to track the status of requests for the state's 95,000 social housing properties is due to be in place by mid-2024.
Some big news this morning.
The Liberal experiment of out-sourcing maintenance contracts to private providers has failed.
We're bringing social housing maintenance back into public hands - to bring dignity, safety & pride to the social housing system in NSW. pic.twitter.com/ExChRT3Ayy
— Rose Jackson (@RoseBJackson) November 12, 2023
Housing Minister Rose Jackson said she hoped social housing would be seen as an asset rather than an eyesore for communities with better maintenance.
"I'm sick of people walking past public housing, seeing broken windows, seeing lawn un-mowed, seeing rubbish in common areas," she said.
"I'm sick of the NSW government being the worst landlord in the state."
Premier Chris Minns said the previous government's outsourcing of social housing maintenance had led to a decade of chronic issues.
At one stage, 1533 of the state's social homes were not fit for habitation due to a lack of maintenance, adding to already crowded waitlists, he said.
"Everyone deserves access to safe and secure shelter without having to jump through hoops to ensure essential maintenance is done," Mr Minns said.
The September budget included $35 million to help clear a maintenance backlog in social housing, although the government was criticised for failing to put aside more money to add to the state's stock of affordable homes.
There were 57,411 applicants on the state's social housing waitlist in September, 7980 of which were classified as priority cases.
Labor won the March election with an anti-privatisation platform, claiming the use of outsourced contracts and asset sales had led to poor outcomes for taxpayers in key areas such as transport and energy.
Earlier this month it was revealed the government would not renew the contract for the operator of Junee Correctional Centre after almost three decades of private-sector control.