Major investments needed to improve social, public housing stocks

The ACT Greens will today put forward a motion in the Assembly calling on the government to stop reducing public housing in Canberra and to at least maintain current proportion of social housing. As well the Greens call on the government to increase supplies of affordable rental housing in the Territory.

The motion calls for current social housing stocks to, at a minimum, be maintained at current rates (7.1 per cent of all ACT housing stock). In 2001 it was 10.2 %.

“We all need a safe and secure place to live.  For many vulnerable Canberrans in low income households, public housing is an essential piece of infrastructure” Greens spokesperson for Housing Caroline Le Couteur said.

The motion also calls for policies to further grow the supply of affordable rental housing. The Rental Affordability Index (https://www.sgsep.com.au/maps/thirdspace/australia-rental-affordability-index/ ) shows that all but one of the eight categories of low to moderate income household types the ACT is a close second to Sydney when it comes to the unaffordability of our rental market.[1].

“As the housing market tightens and our population grows, major investment in housing renewal is needed to ensure that all Canberrans can enjoy safe and secure housing.

“There’s no silver bullet to fix the housing crisis.  But as Canberra grows it is important that our public and affordable housing grows with it.”

The Suburban Land Agency has identified 143 dwelling sites for public housing in 2017-18.  During this period 4,120 dwelling sites have been scheduled for release by the ACT Government. This means that only 3.5 per cent of this new housing stock will be set aside as public housing.

“As the largest land owner in the Territory, we are uniquely placed to use a greater proportion of this valuable and finite resource—our land supply—to deliver an increased supply of social and affordable rental housing,” Ms Le Couteur said.

The motion also calls on the Government to provide the Assembly with a report about the ACT’s participation in the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement, currently being negotiated between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments.

[1] An online mapping tool and information about the Rental Affordability Index is available here:  https://www.sgsep.com.au/maps/thirdspace/australia-rental-affordability-index/