Government housing report fails to address needs of all Australians

Media release

18 March 2022

The Federal Government must broaden its focus from home ownership to providing tangible support for the growing number of struggling renters and homeless, the Community Housing Industry Association NSW said today following the release of the final report of the ‘Inquiry into housing affordability and supply in Australia’.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue’s report released today confirms the Federal Government’s appetite to prioritise supporting Australians into home ownership and explore the potential of emerging models like discount-to-market rent-to-own affordable housing.

“The biggest takeaway from this report is that the Federal Government is deeply concerned with the supply and affordability of housing for Australians to own, yet they’ve completely ignored addressing a desperate need for greater supply of social and affordable housing,” says Mark Degotardi, CEO of CHIA NSW.

“There is no problem with the report’s claims that home ownership provides real social benefits, but those benefits will never be experienced by people who may never be able to buy a home.

“Australia needs real and specific policies being delivered by its governments which will deliver more social and affordable housing, not fantasies of all Australians owning their own home,” Mr. Degotardi said.

The report narrows its focus when considering social and affordable housing “to the extent of three specific issues: ‘rent-to-own’ housing models, shared equity schemes, the role of private investment, and crisis housing.”

“Whilst exploring the potential of models and programs such as those examined in the report is an undeniably valuable exercise in helping address the crisis we face, the narrowing of focus on them instead of properly addressing the dire shortages of social and affordable housing is a complete swing-and-a-miss by the Federal Government,” Mr Degotardi said.

“There are 150,000 households on the social housing waitlist in Australia. Over one million households are in acute rental stress and struggling to make ends meet: women and children escaping domestic violence, older Australians receiving the pension, people below retirement age unable to find employment, and even low-income earners like childcare and aged care workers.

“Real leadership means confronting reality and leading for the future. In NSW alone, another 68,000 households will need social housing by 2060. If Australia doesn’t start urgently boosting that supply, we’re facing a national crisis that has social and economic impacts.

“Community housing providers are ready to step up and help Australia meet this challenge. The Federal Government must take this report seriously and do the same.

“CHIA NSW calls on the Federal Government to support the social and affordable housing sector now so we can start addressing the problems this report discusses for all Australians,” Mr Degotardi said.