NFP Coalition Pushes Affordable Housing Plan
Friday, 31st August 2012 at 11:09 am
A coalition of national housing, welfare and community sector organisations is proposing a four point plan to address affordable housing in Australia .
The coalition called Australians for Affordable Housing says the plan will deliver 30,000 new affordable housing units each year and lift 250,000 households out of housing stress over five years.
Australians for Affordable Housing are urging Australia’s Housing Ministers to consider the proposals at the meeting of the COAG Select Committee on Housing and Homelessness in Perth tomorrow (Friday).
“Housing is the single biggest household cost in Australia and, over the last 25 years, housing costs have been taking a bigger bite our of the household budgets – up as a proportion of spending by 41 per cent in that time,” Australians for Affordable campaign manager Sarah Toohey said.
“By contrast we actually spend slightly less on energy bills than we did in 1984. Yet while we hear increasing outrage about the burdens of power bills, political parties are not calling for similar action on our housing affordability crisis. The cost of living debate in Australia is missing a huge part of the equation. The cost of living debate should be a cost of housing debate.
“The Australians for Affordable Housing plan outlines the pathway for governments to act on our housing affordability crisis. “
1. Increase the supply of affordable rental housing:
- Establish an Affordable Housing Growth Fund that would fund at least 20,000 new low-income rental properties each year. Cost: $1.4 billion over five years.
- Double the number of property incentives under the National Rental Affordability Scheme. Cost: $1.1 billion over five years.
2. Improve housing affordability through tax reform:
- Change the tax breaks for housing investors, like negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts. Saving: $5 billion over five years.
- Help state governments to abolish stamp duty and introduce a broad-based land tax.
3. Improve rent assistance:
- Establish a Productivity Commission review to enhance the effectiveness of Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
- Increase the current maximum rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance to restore its real value to the household budget. This would be an increase of between $22 and $27 per week, depending on household type. Cost: $6 billion over 5 years.
4. Set benchmarks for all levels of government to deliver affordable housing:
- Develop a national housing and infrastructure plan, with transparent funding and accountability arrangements.
The Not for Profit plan comes as a new housing supply report by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has called for all State and Territory Governments to ensure more efficient use of existing land and housing stock and reduce unnecessary costs and charges for developers and homebuyers.
The HSAR report was developed in close cooperation with the States and Territories and highlights key areas of reform including:
- improving the efficiency of development assessment and rezoning processes
- increasing transparency around infrastructure charges for developers and homebuyers
- ensuring that government land holdings are being put to the highest value use
- improving the efficiency and effectiveness of government interventions to ensure the right outcomes
- ensuring that the housing market is able to provide the types of homes that Australians actually demand
It recommends that the States and Territories work towards greater use of code-based frameworks for assessing residential development applications and consider the costs and benefits of local councils’ regulatory proposals before they are allowed to exceed state planning requirements.
The Benevolent Society has welcomed the approach by the Australians for Affordable Housing Group’s four point plan to fix the housing crisis and has urged the COAG Select Committee on Housing the Homelessness to consider its proposals.
“Housing is by far the biggest expenditure in most household budgets – families with young children and older renters are the hardest hit and are increasingly facing homelessness due to the lack of affordable housing in Australia,” the Benevolent Society’s Chief Executive Anne Hollonds said.