When: 11am, Wednesday 16 March 2016
Where: Senate Courtyard, Parliament House Canberra
Who: Adrian Pisarski, National Shelter Executive Officer
Housing policy peak National Shelter is challenging all federal Members of Parliament and Senators to be bold in the face of pressure from vested interests and commit to real tax reform and a fairer housing system.
National Shelter members from across Australia have converged on Canberra to meet with MPs and Senators to urge them to put the wellbeing of ordinary families in their electorates first.
“For the past few weeks we’ve all been subjected to a scare campaign of outlandish claims that reforming negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount will implode the Australian housing market,” said Adrian Pisarski, National Shelter Executive Officer.
“What’s really scary is that our home ownership rate is already waning, rent prices are really hurting people, and more than 100,000 Australians are homeless on any given night.
“Almost half of houses sold go to investors who, encouraged by multiple generous tax breaks, push up prices for everyone.
“We have to ask ourselves if we’re willing to be a nation of renters. And if we’re willing to accept that death of the great Australian dream, what are we going to do about households paying crippling rents?
Last year National Shelter, in partnership with Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics, launched Australia’s first comprehensive rental affordability index. The Index showed that some families were forced to pay as much as 65% of their income to secure rental housing.
“Governments can’t have it both ways. You can’t distort the market for the sake of investors, and leave tenants to carry the can. The rental market can be a brutal place to raise a family and we are locking generations out of ownership.
“We want sensible reform with all party support to fix housing affordability. After all, we’re taking about nothing less than the homes in which we live our lives”.
Spokesperson for Homelessness Australia Joanna Siejka added “We need every politician in Australia to understand homelessness and help our services to end it. There is no reason Australia can’t solve this issue if we put our mind to it."
For Rental Affordability Index interactive maps: http://www.sgsep.com.au/maps/RAI.html
Australia’s first ever Rental Affordability Index reveals the depth and extremity of housing stress faced by renters in the current market. Both low income and moderate income households suffer poverty due to high rental costs.
Housing stress occurs when households pay 30% of income or more on rent. Low income households are required to pay around 65% of income on rent to access a tenancy. This means that rents are extremely unaffordable.
The Rental Affordability Index has been created by National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics & Planning. It will be released on a quarterly basis.
Low income households – according to the report – are in a dire situation, single income households are the worst off and rent costs are now locking low and moderate income households out of inner cities. The report gives a blow by blow account of rental affordability in Australia’s major cities.
Media Release 1 October 2015
Peak body National Shelter calls on the mini summit to tackle housing affordability including putting reforms to negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions, previously ruled out, back on the table.
Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski said “If Prime Minister Turnbull’s mini summit is intent on addressing reform then changing tax settings to reduce house price inflation must be among the issues to be addressed.”
We currently have a tax system which inflates the market by pitting investors against would be owner occupiers for the same properties but providing the wrong incentives around affordable housing according to National Shelter.
“Ultimately renters become the fall guy in house price inflation. Purchasers have low interest rates as a compensation, investors get tax relief, but rents have consistently outstripped inflation and renters have no compensating fallback.
"Housing is the largest single household cost and current settings push people to outer areas away from jobs, education and another opportunities. Low income households then face long commutes, expensive transport costs and experience social and economic exclusion.
"Tax reform can do more to counter the high cost of housing and must be coupled to a new affordable housing supply strategy to improve the economic and social participation of low income households and put a break on rising homelessness.
“If the mini summit is fair dinkum then reforming negative gearing and CGT exemptions must be back on the table despite the Abbott government having ruled them out.” Mr Pisarski concluded.
The peak housing advocacy organisation for low income Australians, National Shelter, today expressed deep concern that neither major party has addressed the greatest cause of financial hardship for very many Australian households – the lack of affordable housing.
“We are half way through the election campaign, and despite repeated calls across the community, neither Labor nor the Coalition have offered any direct affordable housing policies”, said National Shelter Chair, Adam Farrar.“There have been two leaders’ debates; but a deafening silence on one of Australia’s largest policy challenges.”
“We have heard repeated talk of ‘cost of living pressures’ in this campaign. But housing is the largest item of expenditure in the budgets of all Australian households, and low income households pay a third more of their income on housing than high income earners.”
“With rents rising faster than incomes over the past decade, it is hard to take election talk of concern over living costs seriously without policies on housing affordability from either major party.”There is still time for the major parties to announce their housing polices.
National Shelter calls on the major parties to make the following five commitments that would make a real difference to low and moderate income Australians:
Less than a year ago National Shelter released its full housing policy priorities statement, 'Meeting housing challenges'. In that policy National Shelter encouraged all sides of politics to agree to address Australia’s housing challenges and to develop a National Housing Strategy.
At this point in the election campaign, it is time for the parties to take up that challenge.
For the full National Shelter priority statement: Meeting housing challenges (summary)
For more information:
Adam Farrar, Chairperson: 0409 669 936