Anglicare report shows more action needed to tackle housing crisis

As Canberra’s housing crisis continues, the Greens today have again called for significant Government investment in housing renewal—ensuring that all Canberrans, particularly those on low incomes, have a safe and secure place to live.

The latest Anglicare rental affordability snapshot, released today, surveyed 69,000 rental listings from across the country. It found that in Canberra, a couple with two children earning the minimum wage would find that not a single rental listing is affordable.

“The Greens are concerned to see that there has been no improvement in these housing affordability statistics across the Territory in the past three years,” Greens Housing spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur said today.

“There’s no silver bullet to fix the housing crisis. While the Government has made some investment in housing options, as the housing market tightens and our population grows, more investment is needed to ensure that all Canberrans can live with a roof of their heads.

“With high rents and historically low vacancy rates, it’s especially tough for those on low and moderate incomes to find safe and secure housing,” Ms Le Couteur said.

Of particular concern to Anglicare was the lack of any affordable rental options for young people supported by Youth Allowance, and people receiving Newstart Allowance, Disability Support Pension, or Parenting Payment (single), even including other payments such as Rent Assistance and Family Tax Benefit they may also be eligible to receive.

The Greens continue to call on the ACT Government to:

  • significantly increase the supply of social and affordable rental housing;
  • significantly increase the supply of community housing, noting that an AIHW report last year found that Canberra has the lowest proportion of community housing of any jurisdiction;
  • ensure the long-awaited Housing Strategy is now fully implemented;
  • expand the Common Ground housing site in Gungahlin.

In February, the Greens welcomed a commitment to allow landlords to claim a land tax exemption if they rent out their properties to low income Canberrans through community housing providers—following on from a Greens motion in the Assembly last year, and as outlined in the 2008 Greens-Labor Parliamentary Agreement. The legislation provides for the scheme to run for two years at this stage. However, the Greens believe that take-up could be improved if this were an ongoing scheme.

In April last year, the ACT Greens put forward a motion in the Assembly calling for a minimum proportion of social housing to be maintained, and increased supplies of affordable rental housing in the Territory—a motion that ACT Labor did not support.