Grants for high-income home owners are wrong and risky

4 June 2020

The Australian Council of Social Service rejects the Federal Government’s plan to provide large grants to home builders and renovators as a wasted opportunity to address the backlog of urgent social housing repairs and the shortfall in social housing stock.

Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“There is no argument that the construction sector needs a shot in the arm, but this money will not go where it is most needed. It will largely benefit those on middle and higher incomes undertaking costly renovations, without any related social or environmental benefits.

“The risk is that it will saddle people with huge debts that they may not end up being able to afford, especially given the uncertainty of the job market.

“We are in a recession, with more and more people struggling to pay rent, which will only lead to greater homelessness.

“We should be focusing on ensuring everyone has a roof over head, not on government support for people who are relatively well off to upgrade their roofs.

“We have a massive shortfall of social housing and there is clear agreement from Master Builders Australia, the CFMEU and community groups for a national social housing construction program of about 30,000 homes.

“There is also dire need for repairs and renovations of existing social housing dwellings that workers could get started on next week.

“We could create even more jobs by installing solar and improving energy efficiency in low-income homes, which would cut energy bills for people and families, who will otherwise freeze through winter.

“We must work together to get out of this recession, not leave people behind and out in the cold without a home,” Dr Goldie said.

Media contact:  Australian Council of Social Service, 0419 626 155