There are five key policy areas to improve housing affordability and conditions for low income households. We need to:
1. Increase social and affordable rental housing stock
NSW is experiencing a social housing crisis with almost 56,000 approved applicants for public and community housing waiting on the NSW Housing Register. Waiting times for general applicants on the register in the Greater Sydney and Illawarra region are either 5-10 years or over 10 years in the majority of allocation zones (FACS 2018). We need to ensure there are affordable houses for low income households as a part of the additional 725,000 dwellings required by 2036 to meet Sydney’s needs.
2. Increase Government commitment to affordable housing
Establish separate Ministerial Housing and Homelessness portfolios at Federal and State levels to focus on a number of issues affecting the supply of affordable housing. These issues include:
- national funding
- supply and demand
- population change
- planning reform
- environmental approvals
3. Improve income support rates and indexing
Create an independent body to regularly review the adequacy of all Government allowances to ensure that payments are adequately calculated and sufficiently indexed. This will increase the capacity of individuals to enter the workforce and alleviate housing stress for low and medium income households.
There also needs to be an immediate increase in:
- Newstart by $75 per week, in line with calls from international bodies, and business and welfare groups; and
- Commonwealth Rent Assistance by $40 per fortnight
4. Review housing taxes and concessions
A lack of affordability in both the rental and home ownership markets adversely impacts renters, buyers and mortgagees across the housing spectrum.
Federal and State Governments need to review the effect of their respective taxes, duties and concessions on housing rental and ownership affordability, and modify the taxation system accordingly to improve affordability.
5. Improve conditions in the private rental market for renters
The NSW Government needs to increase protection for renters from unfair evictions and rent rises.