The era of concentrated swathes of public housing is over ... state Minister for Finance Greg Pearce.

The era of concentrated swathes of public housing is over ... state Finance Minister Greg Pearce. Photo: Phil Hearne

The transformation of at least one more estate will be announced this year, in a similar vein to the Airds-Bradbury Renewal Project, a partnership between the government, a private consortium and social housing provider announced before Christmas.

Though the amount of public or social housing provided on most estates will be reduced to about 30 per cent, the government has pledged there will be no net loss of social housing and new dwellings will be built elsewhere using the funds leveraged.

Speaking to the Herald yesterday, the state's Finance Minister, Greg Pearce, who is responsible for managing the government's public housing assets, said the era of concentrated swathes of public housing was over.

''It's finished. It's a proven failure, it's a proven failure in other parts of the world. It just creates cycles of disadvantage and it can't be managed,'' he said. ''My objective certainly is to have another one [of the partnerships] this year and then a pipeline.

''We will publish those lists, we'll consult those communities and we'll start to work out a program going forward so the private sector can prepare, the community groups can prepare and, most importantly, the tenants themselves can prepare.''

The trend towards diversifying tenure on housing estates is occurring around the world and had begun under the former government. Newleaf Bonnyrigg in Sydney's south-west was the first social housing public-private partnership in the country. Within 12 years, it will deliver 2332 homes, 70 per cent of which will be private and 30 per cent will be social housing.

The executive officer at the affordable housing advocacy group Shelter NSW, Mary Perkins, said her organisation had opposed the building of big estates in the 1970s because they could compound disadvantage.

However, she said, they now provide homes and communities for residents and renewal needed to be managed sensitively. ''We're concerned to see the current residents … that their rights and needs are respected,'' she said.

Simply diversifying the types of housing in an area did not also guarantee that problems would be addressed.

This phenomenon was evident in inner-city Redfern, Ms Perkins said, where the overall demographic of the suburb had changed due to gentrification but the actual disadvantage experienced by public housing residents was largely unchanged.

''It's possible to be the only poor person in the street in an area that's not showing as a disadvantage area and yet show huge disadvantage because you can't afford to participate in anything,'' she said.

As with Bonnyrigg, the Airds-Bradbury project will have the social housing component managed by a community housing provider. This follows the transfer of huge amounts of public housing to the sector. In the last financial year, the state government transferred 3076 public housing properties to 14 community housing providers.

The number of public housing properties held by Housing NSW has dropped from 125,171 in 2007-08 to 120,380 in 2010-11. But the loss has been offset by the growth in community housing, which grew from 15,397 to 24,584 in the same period.