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Byron Shire
August 9, 2022

Affordable housing

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Editorial – It was the best of happy times…

The start of the new federal Labor age saw advances in one short week that the previous government had failed to achieve in nine years. 

I do not believe that we will ever see affordable housing again in Australia. The cost of land and construction costs have dashed any hopes of affordable housing.

Here in the Byron and Tweed shires you would be flat out trying to buy a housing block for anything less than $350k, coupled with the building costs you are looking at another $350k. In my mind $700k is not affordable housing and is way out of the reach of the underprivileged, and the marginalised in our society.

What we need to see is social housing. This needs to be implemented by the three areas of government. Federal, State, and local working together. Each has a part to play and if they were to all do their part we could solve this problem.

The Feds obviously would provide a sum of money, but more importantly provide federal land, free of charge, for the scheme. The states likewise would provide finance and free land.

Local government would hopefully be able to come up with some money but it’s main task would be to forego all Council costs regarding building.

They would provide planning, oversee construction, and on completion, manage the properties, maintenance and rental administration paid for by the rents at minimal cost. Any surplus funds from rental received would be used for the benefit of the tenants.

The rental on these properties would be assessed as a percentage of the take home pay of the resident families coupled with other aspects, such as number of children, any disabilities etc, making it, in reality; each according to his needs and his ability to pay. Assessed every year and adjusted accordingly as the circumstances change.

The tenants would have lifetime tenancy, and as much as possible be allowed to make it ‘their home’ with minimal restrictions, apart from structural issues.

The overall running of the scheme would provide permanent work in the admin and maintenance departments of the local authority.

It’s important that the type of construction should not be large areas of social housing, which only create a ghetto stigma. If the housing is built with federal and State funds, with every building cost exempted, then modern sustainable homes can be built on a par with every other house in the area. The tower blocks of the inner cities are a prime example of what not to do.

The tenants would have a secure tenancy, pay an affordable rent as per their income, and would importantly be able to live and bring up their families without financial stress – an issue that can cause family breakdowns that only compound these issues.

Social housing would be the answer to the problem that we have with the so-called housing affordability.

I am sure the federal, State and local authorities would all come up with reasons why it couldn’t be done, but in my mind there would be nothing that couldn’t be done given the will.

Of course it would cost the federal and State governments a lot of money, but when you put that in context with a nuclear submarine, a fighter jet that doesn’t fly, a train too wide for a tunnel, a stadium that didn’t need to be built – then it would be peanuts.

It’s just a question of priorities with most politicians. Sadly their main priority seems to be themselves, their Party and getting re-elected, and not what the needs are of those they are supposed to represent.

Perhaps things might get moving should Albo get elected? After all he is always quick to let us know that he was brought up in social housing and has some understanding of the problems and benefits first hand.

A bit cynical, but to me it’s the truth,

Gwyn Hooper, Uki

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  1. we need the courage to enact major land reforms in this society for the future prosperity of the nation we have been brainnwashed into living this existance for the benfit of others private ownership of land needs to be abolished and a government controlled leasing system on use of the land should be enacted.

  2. Gwyn,
    You write a very simplistic solution that is very conservative and right wing. Yeah right, build more houses when if you look around Australia the biggest areas who are building houses have the biggest housing problem of not enough houses. When you build houses all people from every corner of Australia swarm to that area.
    What is affordable housing? It is a tent in a caravan park. Why aren’t we building caravan parks? That lowers the price a lot.


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