With the Greens likely to be in balance of power on Labor’s forthcoming housing bill, the Australian Greens Party Room has formally empowered Greens Leader Adam Bandt and Housing and Homelessness Spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather, MP for Griffith, to negotiate with the Government on upcoming legislation establishing the Housing Australia Future Fund. The Greens will push for a much bigger direct government build of housing, a national rent freeze and an upgrade of existing public housing.
Lines attributable to Housing and Homelessness Spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather, MP for Griffith:
“In the middle of one of the worst housing crises in Australia’s history, Labor’s plan will not only fail to fix the crisis, the situation will get worse.
“Labor plans on spending $244 billion on the Stage 3 tax cuts for the rich, and just $10 billion on housing, while doing nothing for renters.
“Right now Australians need at least an extra 520,000 public and community homes, and that need increases by 14,000 homes every year. So Labor’s plan to build 6000 public, community and affordable homes a year won’t even match the yearly increase in need, let alone tackle the crisis.
“At the end of Labor’s five year plan, we will see more people waiting for public and community housing, more people struggling to pay the rent, and the lowest levels of public and community housing since World War 2.
“Labor’s plan means more single mums living in their cars, more renters facing eviction, and more pensioners skipping a meal to pay the rent.
“That’s why the Greens are fighting for vital improvements to this bill to make life a little more manageable for the millions of Australians struggling to pay the rent or buy a house or keep a roof over their head.
“The Greens are ready to negotiate in good faith to get the public, community and affordable housing Australia desperately needs, and some real, meaningful national protections for renters.”
It’s likely Labor will need the Greens support in the Senate to pass their housing plan. The Greens will seek to negotiate significant improvements and will put on the table for formal discussion:
- Build 275,000 well designed public, community and affordable homes over the next five years, enough to wipe out the existing waiting list and work toward building 1 million homes over the next 20 years - which commentators and advocates have described as much closer to the scale of the housing challenge facing the country
- Introduce a national 2 year rent freeze as part of new national tenancy standards, and
- Invest $5 billion in maintenance and upgrades for existing public housing, to improve accessibility, energy efficiency, and ensure better heating and cooling
Labor’s plan does not involve the expenditure of $10 billion on housing, as the government often implies, but rather the depositing of that sum in an account, with only the interest available to fund new construction.
Labor’s plan will see the construction of 30,000 public, community and affordable homes over 5 years, or 6000 homes per year on average. This will only cover 3% of the need for public and community housing in Australia, and be less than the annual increase in need.
Meanwhile, analysis provided by the Parliamentary Library projects that Australia’s public and community housing levels will fall to historic lows under Labor’s housing plan. Public and community housing has fallen from a peak of 7.1% of all homes in Australia in 1991 to 3.7% today. Under Labor’s policy, public and community housing would drop to 3.3% of total housing in 2032—the lowest level since Commonwealth provision of public housing began.