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The housing crisis affecting regional NSW has been described by NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro as a “champagne problem”

Rental vacancies are below 1 per cent in many areas of regional NSW, and growth in regional median house prices is outpacing Sydney.

But after years of drought and “the demise of regional NSW off the back of bushfires” in 2019 and early last year, Mr. Barilaro said that was not necessarily a bad thing.

“It’s a new tale, a new story — there’s a new renaissance for regional NSW,” he said.

“We’re seeing people wanting to move to regional NSW. I call this a champagne problem — these are the problems you want.”

The remarks of Mr Barilaro did not match well with the charity Hope for the Homeless Chief Executive Dean Evers, based in Coffs Harbour, who helped thousands of people struggling to find a place to live in a rental market with a vacancy rate of 0.5%.

“Does [John Barilaro] mean that we’re about to pop? It’s about to explode here in Coffs Harbour,” Mr Evers said.

“There is no housing, there’s no jobs. It would be a good problem if we had housing.”

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