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Please put your housing plans on the table

Aug 25, 2013, 00:00 AM by Anglicare Australia

Anglicare Australia repeated its call for the two biggest political parties to unveil a national plan to make housing, particularly rental housing, more affordable, following the release yesterday of another Greens housing initiative.

“The critical and long standing shortage of affordable rental housing right across Australia has become a feature of this election campaign,” Anglicare Australia’s Executive Director, Kasy Chambers, said today.

“Through the ACOSS Community Sector Survey released in July, over 500 agencies across Australia pointed to housing affordability as the most urgent and pervasive issue that they face. Since then, on almost every day of this election campaign, it’s been raised by aged, single parent family, mental health and disability advocates as a terrible problem for their constituents and, more generally, by other affordable housing, welfare and industry bodies.

“Our annual snapshot of rental housing tells us that people on the lowest incomes are being pushed into unsuitable and insecure housing or out of the rental market altogether.

“Of the major political parties, only the Greens have taken the issue sufficiently seriously and put a detailed, costed plan on the table. So far they have looked at rental affordability, tenants’ rights, social housing and homelessness, and now they‘ve announced an additional 70,000 homes in the National Rental Affordability Scheme to help meet the shortfall in housing supply.

“From Prime Minister Rudd in this campaign we have a recommitment to existing housing targets but no solid plans, and from Opposition Leader Abbott we have heard nothing yet. There are a lot of people out in the wider community who find that very hard to understand.

“And while the current political climate has encouraged both the Coalition and the Labor Party to shy away from any formal partnership with the Greens, we trust that doesn’t mean they will shy away from wrestling with this important policy issue.

“It’s time for a national plan to grow the supply of affordable rental housing. Anglicare Australia calls on Labor and the Coalition to join the discussion now about how that plan would work. Australians need to come out of this election with a shared understanding that something will be done.”