A Shorten Labor Government will provide the national leadership required to address housing affordability and take serious action to reduce homelessness.

For too many Australians, the dream of home ownership remains out of reach while for many others high housing costs are taking up more than a third of their incomes, with more than 850,000 households living in housing stress. 

There are as many as 105,000 people who are homeless on any given night of the year.

At a time when more people are experiencing housing stress and the rates of homelessness remain high, we cannot continue to stand by and adopt a “business as usual” approach.

Labor will develop a national affordable housing strategy to drive the development of an agreed, coordinated approach to addressing housing affordability in Australia.

A Shorten Labor Government will also:

  • Appoint a Minister for Housing and Homelessness.
  • Make housing affordability a standing item on the COAG agenda.
  • Include a more comprehensive coverage of housing as part of the Closing the Gap report.
  • Develop an Affordable Housing Industry Plan to ensure the long-term development of a sustainable affordable housing sector.
  • Re-establish the National Housing Supply Council.
  • Investigate the development of national rental standards.

A Shorten Labor Government, in partnership with State and Territories, will:

  • Aim to halve homelessness by 2025.
  • Agree on national targets to increase the supply of affordable housing dwellings.
  • Report annually through COAG on progress towards the targets. 

Labor wants to work with homelessness services to deliver long-term certainty for the sector and will begin this important work by immediately hosting a national roundtable on homelessness and a meeting of State and Territory Housing and Homelessness Ministers.

Labor will also provide $88 million over two years for a new Safe Housing program, to improve transitional housing options for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence.

We will also include more comprehensive coverage of housing in the Closing the Gap report, in recognition of the importance of housing to achieving the Closing the Gap health, education and employment targets.

From 1 July 2017, Labor will limit negative gearing to new property.

This is a significant policy that will provide an incentive for new construction and add thousands of jobs to the building industry.

Labor seeks to level the playing field, particularly for first home buyers and will fully grandfather and preserve the tax offsets that are currently available to existing property owners.

Too often, discussions on affordable housing concentrate on home ownership – yet, over 30 per cent of all households are renters. 

It’s important that governments ensure that the needs of renting households are reviewed in light of the changes in the housing market over time.

Labor will ensure that the needs of renting households are considered within the national strategy on affordable housing.

A Shorten Labor Government will work with the States and Territories to reach agreement on a set of national minimum rental standards. Labor will commission work to examine:

  • Rental contract lengths.
  • Fair processes where landlords seek termination.
  • Ways to provide greater freedom of choice for tenants.

A Shorten Labor Government will also provide a one-off establishment grant of $3 million to Homes4Homes (H4H) - a social enterprise by The Big Issue, looking to raise capital funds to invest back into affordable housing supply.  

While Malcolm Turnbull gives tax cuts to the big end of town, Labor is working to help those in our community who need it most.

Labor’s positive plan for affordable housing and to reduce homelessness will put people first.


Senator Katy Gallagher is Labor's Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness and the Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on State and Territory Relations.

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