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About The Big Housing Debate

About The Big Housing Debate

As one of the largest community housing providers in Australia, Link Wentworth is passionate about providing more homes and delivering better services to enable a brighter future for people facing housing stress and homelessness.

We provide services across the full spectrum of housing need, from social, affordable and disability housing, as well as homelessness services.

Unfortunately, the supply of appropriate social and affordable housing is not keeping pace with increasing demand. High prices and high demand, coupled with the challenges of the pandemic and the unpredictable and adverse impact of severe weather, sees more and more Australians facing the stark reality of housing stress and even homelessness.

To address this growing crisis, Link Wentworth wanted to do our bit to lead positive change.

The event

Our host, ABC’s Juanita Phillips.

The Big Housing Debate was hosted by Link Wentworth, in partnership with Western Sydney Community Forum, to ignite the conversation about the importance of social and affordable housing in Western Sydney.

Held for the first time in the lead up to the Federal election at The Joan in Penrith on 21 April 2022, the event brought together leaders and influencers from community, private sector and government to debate how we can meet the need.

Hosted by ABC News’ journalist Juanita Phillips, speakers included:

  • The Honourable Rose Jackson MLC – Shadow Minister for Water, Housing and Homelessness
  • The Honourable Shayne Mallard MLC – Parliamentary Secretary for Western Sydney
  • Mary Conyard – Link Wentworth resident and lived experience speaker
  • Aunty Carol Cooper
  • Councillor John Thain –  Deputy Mayor, Penrith City Council
  • Nicole Woodrow – Development Director, Landcom
  • Hugh Hartigan – Senior Advisor, National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC)
  • Rod Fehring – Executive Chairman, Frasers Property Australia and Chair, National Affordable Housing Alliance (NAHA)
  • Dr Rae Dufty-Jones – Associate Professor, Western Sydney University
  • Leo Patterson Ross – CEO, Tenants’ Union NSW
  • Caryn Kakas – Head of Housing Strategy, ANZ
  • Ryan Banting – Director of Social Infrastructure, Australian Unity
  • Syvilla Boon – Associate Director, Deloitte Australia
  • Billie Sankovic – CEO, Western Sydney Community Forum
  • Mike Allen PSM – Chair, Link Wentworth
  • Andrew McAnulty – CEO, Link Wentworth
The line-up of speakers.

We were pleased to welcome an audience of 500 people, both in person and online, who were invited to share comments and ask questions of our panelists. Distinguished attendees from the housing and property sector included Chair of the National Housing Finance and Investment Commission (NHFIC) Adrian Harrington, CEO of National Shelter John Engeler and CEO of Urban Property Group Patrick Elias, among many others.

Of the event, Patrick Elias said, “It was a pleasure to attend The Big Housing Debate. The event was meticulously run and was a great forum for airing out the challenges we are facing as an industry.

The event and the issues discussed gained local and national news coverage in the ABC, Daily Telegraph, news.com.au and Western Weekender.

You can watch the entire event, as well as a highlight video, by clicking here. Our comprehensive event round-up page also includes a report featuring key points and messages, and ways you can continue this important conversation.

Find out more.

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