Australia is experiencing serious housing affordability issues.
Over a million lower income households are paying housing costs which exceed the commonly-used affordability benchmark of 30% of household income.
While many Australians are struggling with housing costs, the majority of those in housing stress are private renters. Rising rent levels have also increased the pressure on public housing and crisis accommodation services and contributed to the current rate of homelessness.
At a time when more than 105,000 people are homeless, crisis accommodation services are turning away more than half of all those seeking new accommodation, mostly due to a lack of accommodation, and public housing stock has declined.
ACOSS advocates for a fair and equitable housing system where low income Australians have access to safe, secure and affordable housing. Our policy objective is to improve access to affordable, safe and secure housing for low income Australians. To achieve this objective we advocate for:
- A national housing strategy which includes all sections of the housing market, employs a broad range of policy levers and involves both long and short term solutions;
- Sustained investment in affordable housing over the long-term, including in deeply subsidised housing (where rents are set at a maximum of 30% of income) and other forms of subsidised rental housing, as well as appropriately targeted affordable home ownership programs;
- Distinct capital and ongoing subsidy funding arrangements, to ensure that provision is made for the costs of maintenance and rental subsidy;
- A housing system which meets the needs of those who are most disadvantaged while maintaining social mix through mixed tenure developments;
- A review of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) to ensure that it best meets the needs of all low income renters; and
- Reform of housing taxes to reduce distortions in the market which leads to house price inflation and encourage investment in less affordable rental housing.