By Julie Owens

08 June 2021

Australia is in the grip of a housing crisis. It’s harder to buy or rent and there are more Australians experiencing homelessness than ever before.

The reasons for this are not a mystery. While wages growth has been stagnant since the Government was elected in 2013, low interest rates and Government incentives have increased demand in the housing market, pushing up prices.

Apartment developments have exploded in places like Parramatta, which has increased housing supply, but we haven’t been building enough social and affordable housing to keep pace with demand.

There are more than 400,000 people waiting for social housing in Australia, including 4,200 in Parramatta, and Everybody’s Home estimates that Australia will need 500,000 new social and affordable homes in the next five years.

The Morrison Government had an unprecedented opportunity to address these issues in the latest Budget, which has racked up a trillion dollars in debt in response to the pandemic.

Instead they’ve introduced measures that will increase demand and do little to address the critical shortage of affordable housing.

These include increasing the amount of money you can withdraw from super for a home deposit from $30,000 to $50,000. Experts say this will only push up prices, while leaving Australians worse off in retirement.

Another measure that’s received a lot of attention is the Family Home Guarantee, which will allow 10,000 single parents to buy a home with just a 2% deposit over the next four years.

When you divide the number of guarantees by the electorates represented in our Federal Parliament, that means an average of just 16 of the 738 single parent households in Parramatta stand to benefit each year.

If those 16 single parents want to buy a house or a unit in Parramatta, they’ll need to be earning close to the scheme’s $125,000 income cap to be able to borrow enough money to do it. Data from the Melbourne Institute and CoreLogic shows that someone earning the median income for a single parent with two kids ($56,795) would only be able to afford a house in one Sydney suburb with the guarantee – Carramar.

Labor believes the Government needs to take urgent action to address the housing crisis. That’s why we’ve committed to establish a $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund. Returns on the fund in the first five years would build 20,000 new social homes – with 4,000 set aside for women and children fleeing domestic violence and older women at risk of homelessness. They would also build 10,000 affordable homes for frontline workers; support housing repairs in remote Indigenous communities; and fund crisis housing for women fleeing domestic violence and older women and veterans at risk of homelessness.

After the first five years, a portion of the returns will fund acute housing needs each year in perpetuity – creating a permanent funding base for social housing that will also create jobs and inject billions into our economy.

Our community needs more social and affordable housing – and a Government with a plan to fix our housing crisis. If you’d like to learn more about Labor’s plan, click here.