Australia's New South Wales Launches Shared Equity Housing Scheme

Australia's New South Wales Launches Shared Equity Housing Scheme
A general view of properties at North Lakes in Brisbane, Australia, on June 10, 2016. (Glenn Hunt/Getty Images)

Frontline workers and singles over 50 will receive "a leg up" into the New South Wales property market, with the Australian state government to introduce a shared equity housing scheme in this week's budget.

Premier Dominic Perrottet says housing affordability is becoming a challenge for families across the state.

"Whether you're in the city, or you're in the bush, we want to make sure you have that opportunity to get into the home to provide that stability, to provide that opportunity for you and your families," he said from Tallawong on Sunday.

"We are announcing a shared equity scheme which will provide an opportunity for our frontline workers, our teachers, our nurses, our police officers, to get a leg up and get into the property market."

The A$780.4 million (US$780 million) scheme, announced ahead of Tuesday's 2022-23 state budget, will be open to 3000 frontline workers and single parents or singles over 50.

It will be open to singles earning up to $90,000 (US$62,336) a year, or couples earning up to $120,000.

The government will contribute up to 40 percent of the equity of a new home and up to 30 percent on an existing home, and will require a two percent deposit.

The scheme would tie in with the federal government's shared equity scheme, together doubling the amount of homes available for frontline workers and singles over 50, the premier said.

NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the announcement was about helping people reach their goals and live their dreams.

"One of the particular cohorts that we're focused on is that cohort that is too often fallen through the cracks and that's older singles, particularly women who are divorced," Kean said.

"What we want to do is make it as easy as possible for that cohort to get back on their feet safely."

Eligible properties will be capped at A$950,000 (US$657,993) in metropolitan Sydney and $600,000 (US$415,575) in other parts of the state.

Greens housing spokeswoman Jenny Leong criticised the scheme for its limited access.

"This scheme is so limited in terms of who can access it that it will have no benefit to people who are eligible and work in the inner suburbs of Sydney, with virtually no properties for a family meeting the price cap."

The state government also committed $37.9 million (US$26.25 million) to improve before and after school care services and $206 million (US$143 million) towards a sustainable farming program.

Treasurer Matt Kean says the landmark program will reward farmers who voluntarily reduce carbon emissions and protect biodiversity.

The NSW government also committed $56.4 million (US$ 39 million) to the creation of a four-day walking track at the Dorrigo Escarpment through the Gondwana Rainforests on the NSW mid-north coast.

Some $28 million (US$19 million) has also been committed to the state's farm forestry industry, to the support and education of farmers following the introduction of a new code of practice this year.

Women in small businesses will also gain free access to TAFE courses and professional advice thanks to $15 million (US$10 million) over the next four years.

NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns called on the government to include urgent cost of living relief in its upcoming budget, saying key measures including Dine and Discover Vouchers and $265 million (US$183 million) in energy rebates had gone unused over the last year.

"Cost of living is quickly becoming the number one issue in New South Wales – the cost of everything is through the roof in New South Wales and people simply can't afford it," Minns said.