Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Public housing tenants at risk of losing home under re-elected Howard government

Highlights of a press release from DH's favorite politician: Tanya Plibersek, Shadow Minister for Human Services, Housing, Women and Youth

Australians living in public housing will be at risk of losing their homes if the Howard government is re-elected. Minister Mal Brough plans to tender out existing public housing dollars to the private sector. There are more than 300,000 families who live in public housing across Australia – all whose residency will be at risk if the Coalition is re-elected. Labor supports private sector involvement in affordable housing initiatives but not at the expense of existing public housing funding.

Without Commonwealth investment in the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement States will be forced to cannibalise their stock.

The States and territories have made substantial efforts to maintain or increase their public housing stock - including hundreds of millions of dollars recently committed by Victoria, Queensland and NSW in particular.

In contrast, the Howard Government has ripped $3 billion out of public housing over the last decade in the last three CSHAs.

Under Mal Brough's plan, States may be forced to sell off a portion of public housing stock in order to maintain the rest. With housing affordability at record lows it is more important than ever to maintain a strong housing safety net for the most disadvantaged Australians. With vacancy rates plummeting and rents projected to increase on average by 28 per cent across the country by the end of the decade, more Australians are at risk of becoming homeless.

Only Labor has put forward serious solutions to address the housing affordability crisis.

Labor has committed to investing $600 million in a National Rental Affordability Scheme to stimulate the construction of up to 50,000 new affordable rental properties across Australia, for rent to low-income households at 20 per cent below market rates.

A Rudd Labor government will also protect existing public housing funding levels when it replaces the CSHA with a National Affordable Housing Agreement in July 2008 and work with the states and territories to boost the supply of public, community and crisis housing.

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