The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) has made a submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Housing Affordability and Supply in Australia calling for urgent action by the Federal Government, alongside state and territory governments, to address the housing crisis facing all Australian jurisdictions including the ACT.
In its submission, ACTCOSS called for measures including:
- A National Housing Strategy covering all sections of the housing market that delivers both long and short-term solutions
- Sustained Commonwealth investment, alongside investment by state and territory governments, including in deeply subsidised housing (where rents are set at a maximum of 30% of income) and other forms of subsidised rental housing, as well as targeted affordable home ownership programs
- A housing system which meets the needs of those who are most disadvantaged while maintaining social mix through mixed tenure developments
- A review of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) to ensure that it best meets the needs of all low-income renters
- Reform of housing taxes to encourage investment in less affordable rental housing and to reduce distortions in the market which leads to house price inflation
- The waiving by the Federal Government of the ACT’s historic housing debt to the Commonwealth as it has done for Tasmania.
In its submission, ACTCOSS highlighted the disproportional impact that the lack of affordable housing has on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people, people experiencing domestic and family violence, people with mental illness and people with disability – who also face a lack of accessible housing .
ACTCOSS CEO, Dr Emma Campbell said: “The ACT is facing an ongoing housing crisis stemming from a lack of affordable rental housing available to Canberrans on low incomes.
“Canberra is the most expensive capital city to rent making the private rental market inaccessible to many residents. Yet we have a shortfall of over 3,000 social housing dwellings.
“This is completely unsustainable.
“The ongoing housing crisis requires action by the Federal Government as well as the ACT Government, in particular to alleviate the social housing shortfall.”
Dr Campbell continued: “Investing in more social housing delivers good economic outcomes as well as social outcomes. Research by KPMG shows that for every $10 million invested in social housing, GDP is boosted by $13 million.”