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May 15, 2013
joelpringle

Housing crisis to deepen following Federal budget

Australia’s housing and rental crisis is likely to worsen in coming years and the Government has missed the opportunity to use the Federal budget to provide relief, say housing campaigners.

‘All signs indicate that people’s ability to afford a home will deteriorate further in coming years, so it is a disappointment that the Government has failed to include budget measures to ameliorate the crisis.’ said Joel Pringle, Campaign Manager for Australians for Affordable Housing.

‘Investment in education and the DisabilityCare are important steps, however housing affordability seems a blindspot for this Government.’

‘There is no bigger stress on the household budget. Many full-time workers are spending between 30 and 50 per cent of their income on housing, and rents have increased by an average of 32% nationally over five years.’

‘For many Australians, housing has been the fastest increase expense. In Sydney, for example, average rents in 2012 were around $6900 higher than they were in 2007. No other cost is hitting the family budget as much as housing.’

‘We’ll continue working with the community to build the Australians for Affordable Housing campaign and make sure that housing affordability is on the agenda for the upcoming Federal election.’

‘We’ll be seeking commitments from both the Government and the Opposition on how they intend to address the declining rates of first home buyers, out-of-reach house prices and skyrocketing rents around the country.’

‘There are legitimate questions about the ongoing commitment of this Government to housing affordability.’

Budget calls

‘Australians for Affordable Housing have been calling for relief for renters in this budget, but our calls have gone unheeded. We’ve been calling for the building of new affordable housing stock through an

Affordable Housing Growth Fund, a future for the National Rental Affordability Scheme and measures to fix Commonwealth Rent Assistance, which has fallen well behind rent increases.’

‘Whilst the Labour Government showed innovation in housing policies during it’s early years, this Government seems not to be committed to funding the programs. In fact, much of the early commitments are now winding off down and failing to be renewed.’

‘The Social Housing Initiative, which was successful in building 19,669 new affordable housing and creating 14,000 new jobs, ended in 2012. There remains no funding committed to building new social housing.’

‘In terms of housing infrastructure,  the Housing Affordability Fund ends at the end of this financial year. The building better regional cities program is due to end at the end of 2013/14.’

‘The fifth and final round of the National Rental Affordability Scheme has been released, and in spite of Minister Butler’s comments in support of this program, there seems a reluctance to fund future affordable rental properties after this round. We will be urging the Government to reconsider this reluctance and commit to a future for NRAS.’

Housing help for seniors

‘Australians for Affordable Housing welcomes the Government’s recognition of the barriers that people face in changing housing at different times in their lives.’

‘We believe that the ‘Housing help for seniors’ trial has potential to not only help people move into age appropriate housing, but also make the housing market a bit more efficient, indirectly helping families who may be looking to upgrade to a larger home.’

‘However, on the details released, the program appears too restrictive to have a significant impact and stamp duties will remain a major barrier to the uptake of this program.’

‘We urge the Federal Government to work with the States to replace stamp duties with a broad-based land tax. The ACT Government has taken the lead on this. It will be interesting how the ‘Housing help for seniors’ trial works in the ACT compared to other jurisdictions.’

Tax reform

‘Interest rates are at record lows, and the property spruikers are baying at the thought of house price inflation returning to the levels prior to the Global Financial Crisis.’

‘A speculative housing bubble would be a real threat to any economic recovery, threatening jobs recovery and small businesses. Recent housing financing data showing the increase in investor activity but a failure of first home buyers to return to the market are worrying.’

‘We’d like to see the Government consider measures such as the Henry Tax Review recommendations on the Capital Gains Tax 50% discount and Negative Gearing, which would retain those expenditures but close the benefits for capital gains over rental income. This would make the housing market safer to invest in.’

National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness

‘We have been please to see the $159 million, 1 year extension to the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness confirmed in the budget, and look forward to the Commonwealth and States partnering on the delivery of the remaining four years of the extension. Confirmation of further funding will allow the organisations delivering these programs to undertake forward planning.’

Tax studies institute

‘We welcome the Government’s investment in better tax research. We hope that housing taxation will be a priority for the new Institute.’

‘However, exploring new ideas is not enough and there needs to be commitment to undertaking reform.  here are a number of very good recommendations languishing in the Henry Tax Review, for example.’

 

Australians for Affordable Housing is a coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations to highlight the problem of housing affordability in Australia. For more information visit www.housingstressed.org.au

For enquiries, case studies and interviews contact Joel Pringle, 0427 563 989

Follow AAH on Facebook and Twitter: @housingstressed

  • Kirsty Roberts

    Affordable housing is a major issue. How can an individual be productive in society (work, education, community interaction) without having a roof over their head, without feeling secure, safe and being part of a community, they can’t. First things first, housing is a basic human need and must be met. Funding in housing will lessen expenses in healthcare through greater personal well-being, maybe even leading to an increased workforce and tax revenue.

    • Mark

      Very true Kirsty…….Abraham Maslows Heirachy of needs theory spells out what humans require and at the bottom of his heirachy lies shelter, a basic human requirement that forms the basis of moving onward and upward in life. Without the ability to put it into place (because it costs too much money every week) there is little chance for happiness and success.

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