Housing

Australia’s housing system should ensure everyone’s right to a home.

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:

1. Safe and secure housing is a human right.

2. First Nations Peoples and communities housing needs must be met as a matter of urgency. 

3. Access to secure, appropriate, safe and affordable housing is a crucial determinant of health and wellbeing and is an important precondition for social participation and gaining access to other social services. 

4. The provision of long-term stable housing is fundamental to social and economic justice. 

5. Governments should provide sufficient public housing to meet current need and projected demand. 

6. The housing needs of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness and those on low incomes should be met through the unconditional provision of affordable options, primarily public housing and not-for-profit community-controlled tenure types. 

7. Self-determination is crucial to service provision for First Nations communities. The design and development of targeted housing and homelessness support services for First Nations people should be community-led and controlled, and governments should enable and encourage service delivery by First Nations community-controlled organisations. 

8. Homelessness in First Nations communities must be understood and addressed in the context of colonisation, dispossession and displacement from Country. 

9. Public housing should be universally available as an affordable alternative to the private market. 

10. Policy responses to homelessness must be coordinated, rights-based, community-led, place-based and designed to address social and economic disadvantage. 

11. The provision of homelessness services must account for the diversity of drivers of homelessness and disadvantage, and focus on prevention and early intervention rather than crisis responses. 

12. Governments must ensure tenants’ rights to safety, security of tenure, privacy and a well-maintained home. 

13. Public housing should not be privatised or sold. 

14 New urban developments must be universally accessible, environmentally sustainable, climate-conscious, close to employment and public transport, and should facilitate community interaction. 

15. Owners of rental housing must maintain the liveability and quality of their properties. 

16. Communities must have ready access to natural open spaces in a scale appropriate to the number of residents in the community .

17. The public have a right to participate in the planning, assessment and development of housing which must be facilitated and encouraged by Governments and planning authorities. 

18. Governments must support emerging industries and innovation in design, materials and construction that deliver sustainable and universally accessible outcomes necessary for a net zero carbon economy. 

19. Governments should not provide financial incentives that encourage real estate speculation .

20. Government intervention and incentives in the property and private rental markets should be aimed at guaranteeing access to housing and affordable housing supply across all tenure types. 

21. Support services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness including housing provision, must use a person-centred approach, empowering users to make informed choices. Services must be guaranteed, organised, adaptable, respectful and provided without limitation or conditions being placed upon users. 

22. All tenants have a right not to be evicted into homelessness.

23. Housing and support services must be guaranteed, continuous and flexible. 

24. Australia's housing stock should be upgraded to meet universal design principles and higher standards of efficiency to ensure universal accessibility, greater wellbeing and environmental sustainability 

23. Housing and support services must be guaranteed, continuous and flexible. 

24. Australia's housing stock should be upgraded to meet universal design principles and higher standards of efficiency to ensure universal accessibility, greater wellbeing and environmental sustainability.

Aims

The Australian Greens want: 

1. The elimination of homelessness and housing-related poverty.

2.A national housing and homelessness strategy that prioritises and provides universal access to public housing. 

3. A commitment to the provision of appropriate supportive housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, which emphasises long-term, secure independent housing solutions in preference to temporary and emergency ones. 

4. To refocus the provision of wrap-around homelessness services on prevention and early intervention, rather than crisis responses. 

5. To significantly increase the proportion of public housing in Australia’s housing system. 

6. To end the privatisation and sale of public housing stock, except where there is a clear, sustainable community benefit and a timely increase in local public housing stock. 

7. To phase out negative gearing and abolish property-related capital gains tax discounts and exemptions. 

8. Public and community housing to cost residents no more than 25% of household income. 

9. A significant increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance.

10. Improved access to emergency accommodation and urgent and sufficient funding to eliminate wait times for public and community housing. 

11. Requests for public housing transfers to be met and resolved in a timely manner.

12. Well maintained public housing that is accessible, affordable, secure, safe, high-quality and in locations that provide reasonable access to employment, health care, public transport, schools and other social facilities. 

13. Funding to urgently address the backlog of maintenance of public housing stock.

14. Adequate investment in public and community housing throughout the community to ensure its social and economic viability, and to expand public housing stock over time. 

15. Strong renters rights and standards, including: 

  1. Ending ‘no grounds’ evictions by specifying and limiting grounds for eviction; 
  2. Rent controls, including rent caps; 
  3. Ensuring maintenance records are available on request to renters; 
  4. Improved management of tenants’ bonds and interest; 
  5. Prohibiting ‘no pets’ clauses; 
  6. Ensuring share house residents have access to legally enforceable rights and protections; 
  7. Ensuring timely maintenance of rental properties according to established minimum standards; and 
  8. Tenants in private housing to have a right to long term tenancy contracts, with mutually agreed requirements. 

16. That a minimum of two months’ notice be required for landlord-initiated terminations for tenancy contracts in community housing and private housing.

17. Tenants impacted by public housing refurbishments to have the right to be relocated to housing that meets their current needs and which continues to ensure they are connected to their community networks, as well as a right to return. They should be involved in the decision-making process and planning around their relocation. 

18.  A Public Housing Ombudsman or equivalent review body to be put in place in all jurisdictions and be appropriately empowered to deal with unresolved disputes. 

19. The role of the Public Advocate is to be enhanced to be able to legally represent tenants in all housing disputes. 

20. All types of rental housing to be regulated under state or territory tenancy law based on established nationally agreed parameters and standards. 

21. Rental dwellings to have minimum standards set according to tenure blind principles, including requirements for components and fixtures and energy efficiency. 

22. Encourage state jurisdictions to establish landlord registration schemes to provide transparency, accountability and data for information to renters.

23. Tenants to have the legal right to challenge any rent increase without prejudice to their ongoing tenancy.

24. Remove punitive statutory provisions and policies that target public housing tenants (eg Three Strikes), and replace these with proactive support programs to meet the needs of people living in public housing facing crisis.

25. Participation by tenants and people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in decisions regarding their housing services. 

26. Guaranteed adequate funding for tenants’ advocacy services to ensure tenants’ rights are upheld. 

27. A reduction in the environmental impact of housing, both during construction and throughout the life of the building, including for new and established buildings to meet high standards of environmental sustainability, durability, energy efficiency, noise insulation and water conservation. 

28. Greater diversity in housing to meet the accessibility needs of changing demographics and disadvantaged groups. 

29. To support the creation of new housing cooperatives and protect existing ones. 

30. An end to governments’ reliance on policies to promote home ownership that do not redress systemic housing unaffordability. 

31. Well-resourced homelessness services to provide appropriate crisis and transitional accommodation and casework support to meet the needs of people, including First Nations peoples, women and children affected by domestic and family violence, people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, people in need of respite housing, refugees and asylum seekers, migrants and people released from detention. 

32. First Nations peoples to have self-determination over the design, development, delivery and evaluation of housing and homelessness policies and services that affect them. 

33. First Nations peoples to have guaranteed access to adequate, secure, well-maintained, safe and culturally appropriate long-term housing, wherever they live. 

34. Governments to support First Nations community-controlled organisations to provide housing and homelessness services to First Nations peoples and communities. 

35. Targeted, community-directed investment in culturally safe and appropriate housing in rural and remote communities to eliminate overcrowding. 

36. Action to eliminate racism and discrimination against tenants in the private rental market. 

37. A targeted national strategy to address the high incidence of homelessness in marginalised communities, including those oppressed on the basis of class, race, gender, sexuality, or ability, codesigned and developed in consultation with the relevant communities. 

38. National planning guidelines for new housing developments that require: 

  1. a minimum target of 30% public housing; 
  2. housing that caters for diverse social and cultural needs and accounts for tenure mix at the neighbourhood level; 
  3. a revised national rating system that takes into account the best international standards for energy and water efficiency and environmental sustainability; 
  4. privacy and noise controls; 
  5. dedicated public transport and active transport infrastructure; 
  6. electric vehicle charging infrastructure in master plans; 
  7. design and landscaping to incorporate water sensitive urban design including rainwater harvesting, stormwater, and wastewater recycling; 
  8. public open space in addition to community facilities; and 
  9. adherence to universal design principles.

39. National building standards that:

  1. mandate climate-conscious design; 
  2. mandate universal disability access provisions; 
  3. set high standards for energy and water efficiency including passive thermal heating and cooling design; 
  4. specify minimum standards for non-toxic, low environmental impact construction material; and 
  5. make special provision for experimental housing that fosters innovation and the above aims. 

40. Support for the adaptive re-use of empty buildings to create new housing, and inclusion of enabling mechanisms through national building standards.

41. National urban planning guidelines that provide for: 

  1. the location of high-density housing and commercial buildings close to high-capacity public transport; 
  2. the clustering of medium-density housing, community facilities and small-scale businesses around social facilities linked with public transport, like neighbourhood shopping centres, health services and schools; and 
  3. access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including in multi-residential dwellings. 

42. Improved collection and transparent publication of housing and homelessness data to enable communities and governments to make informed decisions.

43. To ensure that all States and Territories adopt a Housing Strategy to adapt quickly and support affected communities in the event of a health, economic or natural disaster crisis. 

44. Existing subsidies and incentives for property investment should be redirected to the public housing sector 

(Housing and Homelessness Policy as amended February 2021 Special National Conference.)