SENATOR KATY GALLAGHER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS
SENATOR FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
- TOO LITTLE TOO LATE -
Q: After two years, three ministers and no housing policy........what do you do? 😕
A: Establish a working group 👎
After two and a half years in office, a revolving door of ministers and no housing policy to speak of the Turnbull government has finally woken up to the fact that housing affordability is an issue facing an ever increasing number of Australians and has decided to convene a working group to figure out what to do about it.
Since being elected the Turnbull/Abbott Government has been so focussed on fighting each other, on cutting payments to families and vulnerable members of the community and on planning to introduce a 15% GST that those Australians who have been struggling to afford somewhere to buy or rent a house have been largely ignored.
It’s a terrible indictment on this government that the most comprehensive statement to date on housing policy from the Turnbull/Abbott government was when the former Treasurer Joe Hockey gave his free advice to those locked out of the housing market by telling them to "get a good job that pays good money".
Ministers Kevin Andrews, Scott Morrison and Christian Porter have done nothing to address housing affordability and better support those living in housing stress during their terms instead choosing to refer housing issues off to the never-never as part of the federation white paper process.
There has been plenty of evidence to inform the government just how big an issue housing affordability is with reports by Moody’s and National Shelter just to name two, both released in late 2015, showing that renters are spending more and more of their incomes on their weekly rent while the proportion of income being spent on mortgages, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne is increasing.
Some Australians families are spending as much as 65 per cent of their income on their weekly rent.
The National Shelter Rental Affordability Index revealed low income families on $500 a week in New South Wales would have to spend 65 per cent of their income to rent a property under current market conditions. In Queensland it’s 54 per cent, South Australia 59 per cent, in Western Australia 57 per cent and in Tasmania 54 per cent.
Being able to pay a mortgage or save up the weekly rent is a daily struggle for too many in this country and it's only getting harder particularly for young people, people with a disability, single women and children, single income families and senior Australians.
The underwhelming decision by Minister Porter to establish a working group clearly indicates that the Turnbull government has a no ideas and no solutions to the housing affordability challenge and that any relief for those living in housing stress is a long way off.
THURSDAY, 14 JANUARY 2016