Welfare recipients to tell senate inquiry Labor’s housing fund will fail
Labor is wasting its opportunity for generational housing reform on a policy that will take us backwards
Today the Senate Economics Legislation Committee inquiry into the government’s signature Housing Australia Future Fund will hold a hearing at Parliament House from 9am to 5:30pm AEDT (watch live here).
The Antipoverty Centre will appear with Anglicare Australia from 2:55pm AEDT (full program).
Antipoverty Centre representatives will tell the committee that the HAFF is set to fail welfare recipients, everyone on a low income and those who are locked out of home ownership. We will provide alternatives to meaningfully improve housing affordability.
Included below: comments from spokesperson Mel Powersmith, links to related material, Antipoverty Centre housing policy proposals and crisis line contact information.
The housing legislative package was introduced to parliament in February 2023 following Labor’s 2022 election promise to establish a fund to facilitate the delivery of 20,000 social and 10,000 affordable homes over 5 years.
Not only is Labor wasting its opportunity for generational housing reform that would leave a lasting positive legacy, its policy will take us backwards.
The $10 billion fund is designed to sound more impressive than it is and by gambling on the stock market the government risks zero homes being built.
This fund will leave us with an even larger shortfall of low cost housing in 5 years than we have now – currently we need about 500,000 low cost homes, which could blow out to 750,000 in a decade under this plan.
The government built an average of around 48,000 public dwellings every 5 years between 1950 and 1995 when the populations was much lower than it is now. The new plan for 20,000 social homes in 5 years, with no commitment to public homes, and is unlikely to even deliver on this low target.
Labor should return to direct investment in public housing and return to a system that offers public housing options for more people, so that anyone who wants or needs a quality public home can live in one.
Antipoverty Centre submission to the housing legislative package inquiry
Opening statement to the housing legislative inquiry hearing
Issues paper describing the effects and risks of further relying on the market for provision of housing to low income people
Kristin O’Connell in Crikey on alternative responses to the housing crisis
Mel Powersmith in the Guardian on the human cost of welfare residualisation
Opening remarks to be delivered by Antipoverty Centre spokesperson and DSP recipient Mel Powersmith
We’re in this housing crisis because of a dramatic policy shift – governments decided to rely on the private rental market to house people on low incomes, rather than ensure access to public housing for everyone who wants it.
A safe, secure home is an investment in people’s lives and futures, but politicians see it as a cost.
This housing plan is gambling potential social homes on the stock market.
This approach is not good for people in poverty. It’s the kind of policy that gets cooked up when you put the foxes in charge of the henhouse.
The way the government designed this fund means it could deliver zero of the promised 30,000 homes. It’s not a solution to the housing crisis. In 5 years, we’ll be further behind than we are now.
It is time for government to listen to those of us who know and take urgent action to meaningfully improve our housing security. No more vested interests in charge of the Housing Supply and Affordability Council.
We urge the government not to bet our lives and futures on the stock market, or the kindness of property investors.
Work with us and other levels of government urgently to protect renters. Move away from targeting and policies that have undermined housing affordability, towards universal access. Directly invest in beautiful, high quality public homes that people want to live in so every person’s basic right to safe shelter is upheld.
Media contact: 0413 261 362 / media at antipovertycentre.org
Crisis support and counselling services
If you need support you can seek guidance, counselling or crisis help from the below organisations or talk to someone you trust.
Suicide Call Back Service – general: 1300 659 467
SANE Australia – general: 1800 187 263
13YARN – for First Nations people: 13 92 76
National Counselling and Referral Service – for disabled people: 1800 421 468
Headspace – for young people: 1800 650 890
QLife – fo LGBTQIA+ people: 1800 184 527
Full Stop – for people who have experienced sexual harassment and assault: 1800 385 578
Embrace Mental Health – multilingual service: embracementalhealth.org.au
MensLine – for men: 1300 789 978
Brother to Brother – for First Nations men: 1800 435 799