We all need a home. None of us can go about our lives, raise a family, go to work or stay healthy, without a stable and safe place to call home. Our housing system should make sure everyone has a secure, safe roof over their head.
A good government would make sure everybody has a secure home. We need government to provide better protection for those of us who rent, to make homes more affordable, accessible and permanent. We need a strong safety net of social and public housing for people who can’t afford private rent so that they are not forced on to the streets.
We need government to end unfair tax breaks for wealthy housing investors and to put that money into fixing our broken housing system. Currently, people get tax deductions when they borrow a lot of money to invest in homes to rent. This drives up the price of housing for everyone. The tax system contributes to Australia having among the highest housing costs and highest household debt in the world. Government should invest directly in more housing for people on the lowest incomes, and encourage super funds and individuals to invest in new affordable homes, instead of driving up the price of existing homes.
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.