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Government plans for Community Housing hopeful but raise ongoing questions

Mar 10, 2017, 11:35 AM by Beth Doherty

Media Release | 10 March, 2017

The Coalition government has announced that it will consider creating a new affordable housing body to assist renters and those on lower incomes in accessing community housing.

Executive Director of Anglicare Australia Kasy Chambers appreciates the Government’s commitment to doing more work on a range of issues to improve housing affordability.  She said today that collaboration between all levels of Government, as well as the private and community sectors is crucial to creating a workable system.

“Housing underpins everything, whether health, education and general wellbeing, and there is no doubt there is a crisis in housing in Australia.

We are pleased to see that renters, who represent over one third of Australians are being considered. This number is growing and the length of time people spend in rentals is increasing. Currently, there are more than 200,000 people on social housing waiting lists around Australia”, she said.

“Whilst affordability is a first order issue, it is also important to consider other issues for renters such as energy efficiency and security.

“For the last seven years, Anglicare Australia has released a wide-ranging report called the Rental Affordability Snapshot (RAS) and we have consistently found that the rental market is totally unaffordable for people on Government benefits and minimum wage, and puts many working people into rental stress.

“There is a significant need to reform negative gearing rules and the Capital Gains Tax concessions to better drive housing affordability rather than the creation of individual wealth. We would also suggest that in this plan, a review needs to consider the impact of other taxes (stamp duty, land taxes) on housing for low-income households.

“In principle, these huge costs to the public purse should bring in some public good in the area of housing. In the light of this far reaching visionary approach it does not seem like the time to remove the NAHA (National Affordable Housing Agreement)”, she said.

Anglicare Australia’s Rental Affordability Snapshot will be released on the 27th of April, 2016.

Kasy Chambers will be available today for comment by contacting Beth Doherty on 0432 608 310 or (02) 6230 1775.