MEDIA RELEASE - Aitchison demands Ministers act on Maitland's social housing maintenance

Member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison, last night called on the Minister for Water, Property and Housing, the Hon. Melinda Pavey MP and the Minister for Communities and Disabilities, the Hon. Gareth Ward MP to urgently meet with her and to address the outstanding repairs and maintenance of social housing properties in the Maitland electorate.

During Ms Aitchison’s Private Members Statement she raised real life stories and shared photos of properties where constituents have been too scared to complain in fear that they may lose their home.

In September 2019, Hume Community Housing took over all government social housing in Maitland taking up a 20-year lease on 220 properties and assisting the 4000 customers across Maitland and Port Stephens who reside in them.

“When I first met with Hume in 2017, I warned them of the severely dilapidated state of our social housing and the failure of this Government to maintain them,” Ms Aitchison said.

“Where termites have eaten through them until the ceiling literally collapsed, until floors were about to fall away, where mould has pervaded every room until it’s impossible to remove, where a bathmat covered a rusting bath that was about to collapse through the floor. These are just some of the horrific conditions that Maitland social housing tenants are living with.”

“The legacy of this Government’s tardy, under-delivered and underfunded ‘planned works’ on these aged degraded properties has escalated into urgent ‘ad hoc’ works that have put people at risk of severe injury or chronic health conditions, or even losing their lives.”

Ms Aitchison recently put questions on notice to Minister Pavey asking how much of the $47 million NSW Land and Housing Corporation funding for accelerated maintenance and repairs to social housing assets will be invested in Maitland. The minister failed to provide a dollar figure instead advised that there were 164 work orders issued as at 11 June 2020.

“I’ve been told that there were a number of properties in the Maitland electorate that were earmarked for much needed maintenance only to be let down by this government who were no longer able to complete the maintenance due to budget and time restraints.”

That’s simply not good enough, and I won’t stand for it and I don’t expect the residents of Maitland to stand for it either!”