What we need
Everyone has the right to safe, secure and affordable housing. Affordable housing should be a pillar of our national infrastructure agenda. But it’s not. We need a plan to create a more affordable housing future:
- This crisis is so big that it requires a dedicated plan, bringing together all levels of government, industry and the community sector to turn the ship around.
- The Federal Government should develop a National Housing and Infrastructure Plan to coordinate the construction of hundreds of thousands of affordable rental houses to meet unmet need.
- We need specific planning mechanisms to secure land for affordable housing development and more efficient planning processes to facilitate land supply.
- The Federal Government should build more affordable housing through a growth fund which attracts private investment. It should also extend the National Rental Affordability Scheme or similar program to create more affordable housing options.
- State governments should provide land for new social and affordable housing developments.
Australia’s tax system is driving up house prices and rent. We need an improved tax system that supports a fair housing system:
- We need to end the tax breaks that distort the housing market; and stop rewarding speculative housing investment.
- We need to transition from stamp duties which tax transactions to broad based land taxes to raise revenue more sustainably and consistently.
In Australia today, the lack of affordable housing is the #1 driver of growing disadvantage in our community. We need to stop funding cuts to housing and homelessness initiatives:
- The federal government should build on the strengths of the National Rental Affordability Scheme to increase the supply of affordable rental housing. The funding cut in the 2014-15 Budget should be reinstated to deliver 12,000 additional affordable rental dwellings.
- Current funding arrangements for homelessness initiatives need to be maintained and extended while reform processes occur, including extending the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness for at least two more years.
- The National Affordable Housing agreement needs to be re-indexed to meet the costs of providing homelessness services.
Rents are rising faster than incomes, putting more people in housing stress and locking people out of home ownership. We need to increase the supply of affordable rental housing and relieve rental stress as a matter of urgency:
- Rent Assistance should be increased by 30% in the 2015-16 budget to protect people on low incomes from rental stress and poverty. Longer term, Rent Assistance should be indexed so that it keeps pace with the cost of rent.
- State and territory governments should work to strengthen tenancy protections, including for long term renters through long-term leases.
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