RENT RISES SHOW FAILURE OF TURNBULL GOVERNMENT ON HOUSING

1 Feb 2017

Data released by the NSW Tenants Union showing that rents in Sydney are racing out of reach of people on low incomes highlights the total failure of the Turnbull Government on housing affordability.

RENT RISES SHOW FAILURE OF TURNBULL GOVERNMENT ON HOUSING

 

Data released by the NSW Tenants Union showing that rents in Sydney are racing out of reach of people on low incomes highlights the total failure of the Turnbull Government on housing affordability.

 

Rapid rent rises in Sydney reflect similar situations in other capital cities and regions, with the most recent available data showing that there is a shortage of at least 539,000 rental properties that are both affordable and available for low income households across Australia.

 

At the root cause of the lack of affordable rental properties are two related factors. Firstly increasing numbers of people priced out of buying their first home are renting for much longer. Secondly, a lack of investment in affordable rental housing means that there is a chronic shortage of affordable rental housing for people on low incomes outside the private rental market.

 

One of the first acts of the Abbott government was to abolish the National Housing Supply Council (NHSC) in November 2013. The NHSC provided comprehensive research and analysis on Australia’s housing needs and was valued by governments and industry. Since its abolition governments and industry have been flying blind when it comes to supply and demand factors influencing housing affordability.

 

In its thoroughly discredited 2014-15 budget, the government axed Australia’s only supply side reform to the provision of affordable housing, the National Rental Affordability Scheme, which was on track to provide 50,000 new affordable rental dwellings.

 

What is needed on housing policy is not policy retreat from the national government, but real national leadership.

 

The leadership that is necessary from the national government means that when it comes to housing affordability, whether to buy or to rent, everything has to be on table.

 

What obviously needs to be on the table is negative gearing and capital gains tax reform. In addition, consideration must be given to deeper reform of housing policy.

 

Whether it be new financing models for affordable rental housing, supply side stimulus utilising tax credits to increase affordable rental stock, inclusionary zoning mechanisms, reformed tenancy laws that improve housing security for renters, utilisation of surplus government land for affordable housing and a sound evidence based on supply and demand, all have to be on the table.

 

Labor is giving detailed consideration to a range of housing policy options. Sadly, the Turnbull government has adopted the position of disinterested bystander.

 

 

WEDNESDAY, 1 FEBRUARY 2017