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Was the budget a missed opportunity for social housing?

  • October 07 2020
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Was the budget a missed opportunity for social housing?

By Cameron Micallef
October 07 2020

The government missed an opportunity to stimulate the economy and help Australians on the bottom of the ladder, an industry expert has said.

Was the budget a missed opportunity for social housing

Was the budget a missed opportunity for social housing?

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  • October 07 2020
  • Share

The government missed an opportunity to stimulate the economy and help Australians on the bottom of the ladder, an industry expert has said.

Was the budget a missed opportunity for social housing

According to the national housing and homelessness campaign Everybody’s Home, investment in social houses has been underfunded for decades, with funding creating new jobs, apprenticeship and homes for a growing number of renters facing housing insecurity and are at risk of homelessness.

“This was an opportunity of a lifetime to kill two birds with one stone, by creating jobs at the same time as creating homes, so that everyone has a decent, affordable place to live,” campaign spokesperson Kate Colvin said.

“Before COVID-19, there were 116,000 homeless people in Australia and more than 800,000 living in rent stress.  

“We now face a perfect storm for homelessness to increase, with people who have lost income ‘trading down’ to cheaper rentals, and squeezing out people on the lowest incomes.” 

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The Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) also pointed out how construction could be stimulated through social housing.

“The Master Builders construction forecasts have pointed to a 27 per cent fall in home building, with massive implications for employment in an industry that supplies over 9 per cent of Australia’s jobs,” said Wendy Hayhurst, CHIA’s CEO.

“While the budget has some measures to support home builders, these are unlikely to be anywhere near sufficient to compensate for the drop in demand caused by zero migration and high rates of financial stress.”

The Everybody’s Home campaign believes building 30,000 social housing properties over the next four years will create 18,000 jobs and help pull the Australian economy out of the economic slump it is currently in.

“People struggling to find a rental they can afford desperately needed this government to follow the lead of earlier federal governments, from Menzies, to Chifley, to Fraser and Rudd, and deliver a nation-building investment in social housing infrastructure.”

Ms Colvin said the federal government has made small temporary increases in funding to remote Indigenous communities in Queensland and NT for 2020-21, but remote housing funding is still less than half the funding level in 2017-18. 

The budget also includes more concessional loans for affordable housing, but nothing for the subsidy needed to make new housing affordable to people on low incomes, she added.

The budget also includes a cut of $41.3 million from homelessness funding in July 2021.

“COVID-19 exposed just how important our homes are and how flawed our housing system is. Australians are looking for a new approach to the economy and budget 2020 has totally let them down,” Ms Colvin said.

“Alongside roads and bridges, building social housing should be a part of a nation-building program so families that are trying desperately to survive the impact of the COVID crisis have a secure home to raise their kids in, recover safely if they are ill, focus on finding a job and be part of their local community.”

Was the budget a missed opportunity for social housing?
Was the budget a missed opportunity for social housing
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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