Nothing is more important than having a place to call home. It is a basic necessity that more and more of us are struggling to achieve or maintain. As the cost of housing has soared well beyond income or inflation, many people are struggling to keep up.
The prospect of ever buying a home is becoming out of reach for many of us. Ten per cent of Australians - 850,000 households - are paying more than they can afford on either rent or a mortgage. On any given night 105,000 Australians are homeless – up 17% since 2006.
Since the 2010 Election neither of the major parties has announced new policy commitments that address housing affordability or reduce homelessness. Tony Abbott has rejected the goals of the White Paper to halve homelessness by 2020.
The Greens do care about people struggling under the mounting pressure of housing costs and we have developed a comprehensive plan to ease that pressure.
Our National Housing Roadmap is a comprehensive and costed plan to address Australia’s Housing Crisis:
- Homelessness Action Plan – to end homeless by 2020 by doubling funding for services and building 7,000 homes nationally for all rough sleepers as a matter of urgency. This would cost $900m - 1 billion a year to 2020.
- Stronger Social Housing system initiative with funding to build 122,000 new social housing homes over the next decade - enough to halve the waiting list in ten years and provide a home for more than 250,000 Australians languishing on the waiting lists. This would cost $700m pa, plus $25 million pa for a new affordable housing supply bonds instrument.
- ‘Safe as Houses’ Affordable Housing Supply Bonds initiative (PDF) – to introduce a safe and tested mechanism that generates $2 billion of finance from a $25 million per year government investment. This would allow large institutional investors and smaller mum and dad investors to invest in affordable social housing and rentals.
- Rental Health Check survey – a short survey where people can share their experience as a renter in today’s housing crisis climate. We have already received hundreds of responses, and the results are startling, and are comprehensively described in the ‘better deal for renters package, below).
- Better Deal for Renters package – to set up a new national body to introduce national minimum standards for rentals, boost renters' rights, make rental properties safer, more sustainable, energy and water efficient, and more affordable. Landlords will be offered a package worth $500 per property to help them make upgrades and meet the new national standard. It would also provide an extra $3m for Tenants’ Advocacy services. This package is worth $103 million; and
- Adoption of the Henry Tax Review recommendation to reduce Capital Gains concession on investments (including property) by 10% as a costed revenue initiative. This would save $3.4 billion over the forward estimates, and was announced as a broad and sustainable package to raise revenue.
- Our Rental Supply Boost would build 85,000 new affordable rentals over the next decade, benefiting more than 220,000 people, and reducing the pressure in the rental market.
- Repowering Social Housing with solar panels, efficient appliances, insulation and training, to help tenants save energy and money.
- Kickstart an Australian-made prefabricated housing industry to quickly, sustainably and cheaply build affordable homes - and boost local jobs and innovation at the same time.
Help us put housing affordability on the election agenda.