ACOSS Calls for Government Action on Housing
10 May 2004 at 1:05 pm
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has called on the Australian Government to respond to the worrying trends and problems identified in new ABS data on housing in Australia.
ACOSS President Andrew McCallum says the data shows that fewer people own their own homes out-right, more have a mortgage debt, more rent privately and public housing is declining.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics Housing Occupancy and Costs report shows that between 1996 and 2001:
– the proportion of households who own their own home declined from 43% to 38%.
– the proportion of households with a mortgage debt rose from 28% to 32%.
– the proportion of households who were renting privately rose from 19% to 21%.
– the proportion of households who rent through public housing declined from 6% to 5%.
McCallum says that most seriously the ABS data shows that large numbers of middle to low income people are paying 30% or more of their income in rent or housing costs – more than 1.1 million people are suffering such housing stress.
He says it is about time State and Federal Governments committed to a National Housing Strategy, the key elements of which should be:
– Improve rent assistance for jobless people;
– Improve public and community housing;
– Address tax rorts but give incentives for investment in affordable housing;
– Improve housing services for Indigenous Australians;
– Improve services for homeless people.
He says that with a large budget surplus and obvious needs for such investment, there is no reason why Government’s can’t help everyone secure a roof over their heads.
For a copy of the Summary of the ABS report go to www.abs.gov.au press the link from ‘Publications’ then ’41 Social Science General’ then the link to Housing Occupancy and Costs, Australia (cat. no. 4130.0.55.001).