The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) last Friday welcomed Kevin Andrews’s first speech as federal housing minister and called on the new government to work with the states and territories to improve the supply of affordable housing and address homelessness as an urgent joint priority.
‘We were pleased to hear the minister acknowledge the scale and seriousness of the housing supply and affordability crisis and the clear link between lack of supply and homelessness,’ said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.
‘ACOSS supports a range of investment models and policy levers to increase affordable housing for people, including direct government investment, incentives for private sector investment and tax reform.
‘We were also pleased to hear Minister Andrews’ pledge to engage with the community sector in developing a plan for the future of Australia’s housing system.
‘With poverty and homelessness at unacceptably high levels, and a need to increase productivity, we must address a key obstacle to getting and keeping a job – which is Australia’s housing affordability crisis.
‘We know that two in five low-income households are in housing stress, paying over 30 per cen of income in rent. This is much worse for families on very low incomes, 61 per cent of whom are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.
‘Recent investments in homelessness and affordable housing programs have reduced the number of people sleeping rough, but the number of people who do not have stable, secure housing continues to grow.
‘With reports this week that Australian property prices will surge by more than two times average wages between now and the end of 2015, it’s imperative that governments take effective action to prevent the situation from getting worse.’