7:30 EXPOSES GOVERNMENT’S HALF DECADE OF HOUSING FAILURE

7 Sep 2018

Last night’s 7:30 program on the ABC has delivered a withering assessment of the Coalition Government’s failure to tackle Australia’s crisis in housing affordability and supply.

SENATOR THE HON DOUG CAMERON
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SKILLS, TAFE AND APPRENTICESHIPS
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
 
7:30 EXPOSES GOVERNMENT’S HALF DECADE OF HOUSING FAILURE
 

Last night’s 7:30 program on the ABC has delivered a withering assessment of the Coalition Government’s failure to tackle Australia’s crisis in housing affordability and supply.
 
The program exposed that a perfect storm of rapidly rising rents, stagnant wages, sky-high house prices and a total absence of leadership from the Federal Government is having a profound impact on the record number of Australians now renting – particularly vulnerable low-income earners.
 
ABS data presented on the program highlighted the intense financial pressure renters are under, with rental costs rising by more than 70% in the past decade while wages have not kept pace, growing just 43% over the same period.
 
This is confirmed by Anglicare’s 2018 Rental Affordability Snapshot and National Shelter’s Rental Affordability Index that have shown Australians on income-support, those earning the minimum wage, and even key workers such as nurses are increasingly experiencing “extreme rental stress”. The proportion of low-income households in rental stress now stands at more than 40 per cent.
 
Putting lie to claims there is no rental affordability crisis, the Anglicare Snapshot revealed that for a single person on the minimum wage there were just 41 dwellings available to them without experiencing rental stress in Greater Sydney, with 39 of those more than 20km from the city centre.
 
Comments made by the President of the Real Estate Institute Australia, Malcolm Gunning, that renters can remedy this crisis by “God forbid, getting two jobs” are not only deeply offensive but extraordinarily ignorant of the challenge many Australians face in finding secure, affordable and appropriate housing.
 
Regrettably, these comments merely echo the out-of-touch comments made by former Liberal Treasurer Joe Hockey when he said aspiring first home buyers should “get a better job” and former Prime Minister Turnbull’s shameful advice that Australians ought to get rich parents to “shell out” if they wish to ever own a home.
 
Despite the Coalition's rhetoric on housing affordability, the past 5 years of Liberal Government have delivered absolutely no relief to renters and first-home buyers – instead they have maintained a perverse suite of policies that provide wealthy property investors with the world’s most generous tax concessions at the expense of meaningfully improving affordability.
 
The Coalition has also cut funding for affordable housing under National Partnership Agreements, defunded homelessness and community housing advocates, and prematurely closed Labor’s highly effectively National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) that is delivering rental relief to more than 61,000 Australians right across the country.
 
Astonishingly, it has taken 5 years, 3 Prime Ministers, and 3 Treasurers just for the Coalition Government to concede the need to appoint a Minister for Housing – albeit it at the junior level of Assistant Minister.
 
Only a Shorten Labor Government will to tackle unfair tax distortions and address the housing affordability crisis. Labor has announced a comprehensive set of housing and homelessness policies, and will have more to say in the lead up to the next election.

FRIDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2018
Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra