Housing Affordability Ignored in Cabinet Reshuffle
19 July 2016 at 10:46 am
Housing policy peak body National Shelter and the federal opposition have claimed the prime minister is continuing to ignore Australia’s housing affordability crisis by failing to appoint a dedicated minister for housing in the post-election cabinet reshuffle.
National Shelter executive officer Adrian Pisarski said while Christian Porter remained in the social services portfolio with responsibility for some housing matters, nobody had been tasked with the big picture of housing supply and markets.
“Given the deterioration in housing affordability, we’re disappointed that Prime Minister Turnbull didn’t take this opportunity to appoint a dedicated housing minister to cabinet to bring together issues, including urban planning, tax policy which impacts on housing markets, and locational disadvantage,” Pisarski said.
“Social Service Minister Christian Porter is faced with a huge portfolio and we are concerned that housing will continue to be overshadowed by other portfolio considerations.
“Meanwhile, following the abolition of the Housing Supply Council, nobody in government is taking notice of the housing picture across Australia, and this will impact on everybody including would be first-home buyers.”
He said National Shelter, which currently receives no federal government funding, would continue to focus its research and advocacy agenda on the whole housing system.
“We are facing an increasingly divided Australia, where growing numbers of people, especially in some cities, are facing a lifetime shut out of the Australian dream of owning a house,” he said.
“As shown by the National Rental Affordability Index, a partnership of National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics and Planning, Australians in many parts of the country are faced with rents that are more than 60 per cent of their incomes.”
Labor’s shadow minister for housing and homelessness, Senator Katy Gallagher, said housing affordability had been a significant issue in the federal election.
“In recent days the property industry and non-government organisations had urged the prime ,inister to ensure that the new cabinet arrangements reflect the urgent need for national leadership when it comes to dealing with Australia’s housing affordability crisis,” Gallagher said.
“Over the past three years the Abbott-Turnbull government failed to produce any national housing strategy, made cuts to homelessness funding and Malcolm Turnbull’s only advice on how to address housing affordability was to tell parents to ‘shell out’ and buy their kids a house.
“At a time when it’s never been harder to break into the housing market, particularly in the major metropolitan markets, and thousands of Australians are living in rental or mortgage stress we need a federal government that will work with the states and territories to address this concerning trend rather than sweep it under the carpet.”