Affordable housing needs Government leadership now

27 November 2008

ACOSS is urging the Federal Government to show strong leadership and commit to fixing affordable housing in Australia. Key funding decisions on the future of public and community housing will be made at the COAG meeting this weekend.

Housing groups have called for an additional $5 billion over four years for an Affordable Housing Growth Fund to build 30,000 extra public and community housing dwellings.

“We are looking to the Federal Government to show leadership and ensure there is a substantial funding increase for low-cost housing. A funding injection of $5 billion would strengthen the crumbling foundations of Australia’s social housing system,” said Clare Martin, CEO, ACOSS.

“More than 750,000 people currently struggle with housing costs and with unemployment likely to rise, this situation will worsen. Investment in affordable housing offers a smart opportunity for infrastructure investment to stimulate industry and the economy and meet a critical social need.” <o:p>

“If COAG fails to seize this opportunity, we will see more people in housing stress, more people in unstable and unsafe living situations and more people pushed into homelessness. The current housing crisis could become a housing catastrophe,” said Clare Martin.

The National Affordable Housing Agreement will be signed off at COAG this weekend and it is essential that the package include funding to expand affordable housing stock and increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance to the lowest income households.

The Rudd Government has committed to a suite of measures to improve housing affordability. However, without major additional investment in public and community housing substantial improvements in housing affordability cannot be achieved.

ACOSS calls for the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments to agree to:

  • Spend an additional $5 billion over four years for an Affordable Housing Growth Fund to expand the stock of public and community housing by 30,000 dwellings.
  • Review Commonwealth Rent Assistance and in the short term, increase the maximum rate of CRA by 30% for low income households currently receiving the highest rate of CRA.

A family with 1-2 children currently receives up to $65 per week, which would increase to $85 per week.

Media Contact: Clare Cameron: 0419 626 155