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First homeowners win big, but renters left behind


30 March 2022 at 12:18 pm
Maggie Coggan
“This budget is beyond disappointing… it completely abandons the hundreds of thousands of renters across the country in financial stress.”   


Maggie Coggan | 30 March 2022 at 12:18 pm


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First homeowners win big, but renters left behind
30 March 2022 at 12:18 pm

“This budget is beyond disappointing… it completely abandons the hundreds of thousands of renters across the country in financial stress.”   

Support for medium and low-income renters across Australia is off the table yet again, with this year’s federal budget making no mention of funding for community or social housing projects. 

Instead, first home buyers stole the spotlight, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg committing to doubling the Home Guarantee Scheme to 50,000 places per year.

He said this would help more single parents to buy a home with a deposit as low as 2 per cent, and first home buyers to buy a home with a deposit as low as 5 per cent.

The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation will also receive a $2 billion boost to support affordable housing. 

But, with advocates describing rental and housing affordability and supply at a “crisis point” across the country, this year’s budget fell short of helping anyone not looking to buy their own home. 

National housing plan passes by once again 

One of the key asks among advocates over the past few years has been a national housing plan that would see 500,000 new social and affordable homes to provide more affordable housing options for renters and first home buyers. 

While states and territories have forged ahead with social housing infrastructure, advocates said federal support was key to making headway on the growing problems of rental stress and homelessness across the country. 

Mission Australia CEO Sharon Callister said this inadequate additional investment in more social and affordable homes will push more people into homelessness.

“The scale of the problem requires national leadership,” Callister said. 

“Australia is grappling with a housing affordability crisis, social housing waiting lists of more than 200,000 people and a rate of JobSeeker and other income support payments that leave many in poverty and unable to pay their rent.” 

Low and middle income renters abandoned 

With research revealing at least 40 per cent of renters in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are suffering financial stress, Kate Colvin, national spokesperson for Everybody’s Home told Pro Bono News that this year’s budget was a profound disappointment.

“For the last two years workers in industries such as aged care, child-care and retail have been lauded as heroes of the pandemic. But the budget has done nothing to help them out of the rental pincer,” Colvin said.  

“People on low and modest incomes need real housing solutions, instead they are getting rhetoric and bandaids.”

The Everybody’s Home pre-Budget Position Paper revealed that constructing 25,000 social housing homes per year would generate annual economic output of $12.9 billion and create 15,700 jobs.

No end to homelessness 

While the Young Australian of the Year Daniel Nour’s organisation, Side Street Medics, was awarded a one-off grant of $3 million to provide primary care for those experiencing homelessness, the rest of the sector walked away empty handed and disappointed. 

David Pearson, the CEO of the Alliance to End Homelessness, told Pro Bono News that the budget did not provide the comprehensive leadership or investment that was desperately needed. 

“Overall it is disappointing to see the homelessness sector’s concerns ignored yet again and we have seen a short-term budget focused on short-term priorities,” Pearson said.

Our 2022 budget coverage is brought to you by Fifty Acres.


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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