A formal request for the government to provide over $2.5 billion in the 2012/2013 budget for new homes has been made by leading lobby groups.
Over 100,000 homes for those on low incomes should be provided for in the next budget, as well as an increase in rent assistance, according to housing affordability groups Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH) and the Property Council of Australia’s Residential Development Council.
“What we need to see from the new Housing Minister is a National Housing Plan to ensure all Australians can get housing they can afford, and the 2012-13 Budget is the right time for a down payment on that plan,” said AAH campaign manager Sarah Toohey.
An immediate stimulus payment of $2.5 billion, to boost the capacity of the social housing sector and prevent a downturn in building activity, is the cornerstone of this campaign.
“Housing stress figures commissioned from NATSEM by Australians for Affordable Housing show that rates of housing stress for renters are more than double those with a mortgage. Rental housing is where any plan to address affordability problems needs to start,” said Ms Toohey.
The AAH Budget Statement requested that the Commonwealth Rent Assistance be boosted by $16 to $25 to immediately assist private renters.
An ‘Affordable Housing Growth Fund’ of $2.5 billion in annual funds was also called for in order to service new low-income homes over the next five years.
“As housing industry commentators speculate on another interest rate cut today, we are calling for Government action to actually deliver the affordable homes people need. Renters are struggling most under the burden of housing stress, and interest rates make little difference to their housing costs,” said Ms Toohey.
“We understand that the Government has a commitment to a surplus in 2013, but one in ten households in housing stress are struggling to keep their daily budget in surplus. Easing that stress needs to be the Government’s number one priority.”