RESIDENTS in Blacktown have to wait more than 10 years for one and two-bedroom public housing choices, according to a waiting list released by Community Services Minister Pru Goward.
Among the worst affected suburbs are Mt Druitt and Camden, where the wait for one-bedroom units has increased from between two and five years to more than 10 years.
In Blacktown and Parramatta, the wait for two-bedroom properties has increased from between five and 10 years to more than 10 years.
The waiting list has increased by four per cent from 55,479 applicants to more than 57,000 applicants last year, with western Sydney families facing the sharpest increase in waiting times across the state.
It also showed that in the past year, 38 per cent of western Sydney areas have seen an increase in more than five years in the amount of time it takes an applicant to be housed.
But Ms Goward played up the fact that in the same period more than 3000 people changed their preferred suburb for housing because of her decision last year to publish the average waiting times for each region.
‘‘The fact that the number of people who have changed their application for housing has almost tripled since the publication of the housing waiting list shows the power of transparency and the benefits that flow from it,’’ Ms Goward said.
“But the evidence shows that tenants are staying in public housing for longer periods, which means they are not moving out of public housing and back into the private market.’’
The average tenancy in NSW public housing is 12 years, and more than 50 per cent of tenants stay in public housing for more than 10 years.
Ms Goward is working to reduce public housing waiting times by updating waiting lists by region, charging tenants a tax for vacant bedrooms, and cracking down on people illegally living in public housing properties.