Community Land Trust Manual Workshop

(9.30am, Tuesday 26 February 2013, Marconi Room, Town Hall House)

Thank you, [MC], and good morning everyone. Welcome to this workshop and the launch of the Australian Community Land Trust manual.

I would like firstly to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. I also acknowledge the people of 200 nations who live in our city.

I'm also pleased to welcome Dr Louise Crabtree of the University of Western Sydney who'll be talking about the Community Land Trust Manual.

Housing affordability is a serious issue for every level Australian Government to consider and take action on. The lack of affordable housing constricts lives, threatens social cohesion and undermines the Australian ethos of equality and a fair go.

In Sydney, the issues are particularly stark, and the retention and provision of more affordable housing is a real focus of our concern. We know that housing stress has outstripped substance abuse and family breakdown as the major cause of homelessness in Sydney. Many more families are only just hanging on, and increasingly people are being pushed to Sydney's margins, with many workers who keep our city running simply unable to afford to live anywhere near their jobs.

We are committed to developing more affordable and low-cost housing in our Local Government Area through a range of initiatives, including partnerships with the State Government to provide housing in Glebe.

We were also happy to be a supporter of the development of the manual, and to host this workshop.

Community land trusts help maintain affordability through leasing or co-ownership arrangement with a not-for-profit organisation.

A purchaser "owns" only a dwelling, with the underlying land held in perpetuity by the trust, which is able to set conditions for the re-sale of the dwelling.

It outlines the legal, financial and administrative framework required to establish a Community Land Trust sector in Australia. It's full of practical information on how to set up a trust, and has template legal documents, including a model 99-year lease and a model co-ownership deed.

Phase 2 of the project will involve detailed modelling of the financial viability for specific housing providers or community organisations. It will also involve working with financial institutions to develop appropriate mortgages.

One of the benefits of the Community Land Trusts is that they can operate in non-contiguous areas, and they can provide a variety of built forms - whether units, townhouses or detached houses.

Today's workshop is one of a series planned in this state, in Victoria and in Western Australia and I hope it will stir further interest in the possibilities of these trusts.

There are more than 150 Community Land Trusts operating in the US and there's also a growing sector in the United Kingdom. It's good to see the movement get off the ground here.

Thank you all for your interest in coming here today. I'm sure it will be an informative and stimulating workshop. Thank you.