Housing supply: media releases

New Rental Affordability Index shows dire picture for Australian households


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.

Read the full media release here.

Mini summit must tackle housing affordability

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.



Capital gains tax discounts undermine affordability and must be reformed

Affordable housing peak body National Shelter has renewed its call for tax reform on housing, citing figures released by Greens leaders today.
Figures prepared for the Greens by the Parliamentary Budget Office show potential revenue savings of between $74b and $127b over ten years by reforming Capital Gains Tax Discounts introduced in 1999.
National Shelter has argued that the discounts, introduced by the Howard government, are over generous but also have perverse impacts on property markets.
“CGT discounts combine with negative gearing to encourage speculative investment in rental property, inflate house prices and do very little to add new supply,’ according to National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski.
“By providing unnecessary incentives to investors who compete for the same limited supply of property with owner occupiers, these measures have helped inflate prices and reduce owner occupation levels.”
“Nor have they kept a lid on rents as rents have risen faster than CPI, faster than incomes and put hundreds of thousands of households into poverty.” Mr Pisarski added.
National Shelter has supported measures suggested by the Henry Tax review to reduce the benefits of CGT discounts and negative gearing but today’s figures suggest more may be done.
“The figures released today show all parties must relook at reviewing the tax treatment of housing.”
“With a million households in housing stress and over a hundred thousand experiencing homelessness we need additional funding for affordable housing programs and expanded homelessness responses.”
“So far we have only seen cuts and delays to housing assistance and denial of the need for reforms in these areas.”
“The government is also considering withdrawing from housing when we need additional spending and these figures show where the money might come from. We congratulate the Greens on this initiative.” Mr Pisarski concluded.



Joint statement from National Shelter, Community Housing Federation of Australia and Homelessness Australia

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Housing and homelessness peak bodies out in the cold at Christmas: and a very poor new year to follow for anyone struggling to house themselves

It’s not going to be a good Christmas for housing and homelessness peak bodies including the Community Housing Federation of Australia (CHFA), Homelessness Australia and National Shelter.

All three of these peak bodies received news at the beginning of this Christmas week that they would not be funded beyond 30 June 2015. 

But this news is a blow beyond undermining Christmas festivities for the people directly involved in these organisations. 

These organisations provided a voice in Canberra for the challenges faced in securing affordable housing and keeping a roof over the heads of our most vulnerable citizens.

Without strong national peak bodies, government decision makers will be free to ignore housing and homelessness, leaving one of the biggest welfare issues: whether families can get and keep a home, out in the cold.

Alarmingly, with a federation green paper underway that will look specifically at housing and homelessness issues, there may be no peak bodies at the national level with the research and policy expertise in these areas.

It’s a sad day for civil society when governments move to silence anyone who may offer an opinion that differs from theirs.

Peaks play an essential role as a voice for vulnerable people and in taking a broad view of the housing and homelessness system to promote fairness, effectiveness and efficiency. 

Governments are impoverished without the evidence based policy knowledge of peaks and their capacity to provide advice and a voice from the community - this is an attack on civil society, and the long term costs will be worn by our most vulnerable citizens.

Community Housing Federation of Australia

The Community Housing Federation of Australia (CHFA), the national industry body representing not-for-profit housing providers.  

" For nearly 20 years CHFA has provided advice to both Liberal and Labor Governments, as well as conducting research and policy development aimed at improving housing outcomes for low-income and vulnerable Australians," said John McInerney, CHFA's Chairperson.  "We are profoundly disappointed by this short-sighted decision.”

Carol Croce, CHFA’s Executive Director said, "I am surprised by this decision, as it is at odds with the constructive relationship CHFA has enjoyed with successive  governments .  CHFA has been a successful and respected peak body and an efficient, effective  conduit for information to the community housing sector for Government policy, and an avenue for genuine dialogue on housing concerns between the community housing sector and Government."

 "More than ever the sector needs to be working collaboratively with Government towards a viable solution to the lack of affordable housing.  Diminishing the resources of a prominent stakeholder such as CHFA will be detrimental to this process,” Ms Croce said.

“The work of each of our housing and homelessness peaks is essential if people are to have a roof over their heads.”

Homelessness Australia

Homelessness Australia represents hundreds of specialist homelessness services: hardworking organisations and people who are the nation’s safety net.

“We are deeply disappointed that the government has turned its back on the country’s most vulnerable people,” Glenda Stevens, CEO of HA said. 

“Housing affordability is driving more people to homelessness than ever before.  The government can’t talk about caring for families without addressing this issue.

“The work of each of our housing and homelessness peaks is essential if people are to have a roof over their heads.”

National Shelter

National Shelter is Australia’s housing policy peak, advocating for a fairer, more just housing system, particularly for low-income Australian households. We aim to make housing in all the tenure forms, including private rental, home ownership and social housing more accessible, affordable, appropriate, safe and secure for everyone.

National Shelter Chairperson Mary Perkins said National Shelter is a policy peak which focuses  at the systems level.  

“We take care to work constructively with government, the private and community sectors to build a better housing system for everyone.

“National Shelter brings to the table the collective experience and knowledge of state and territory based housing policy peaks, and our National Members CHFA and Homelessness Australia.

“We’re shocked and disappointed that the Federal Government would try to exclude us and the voice of vulnerable people from the conversation about housing policy.   

“The work of each of our housing and homelessness peaks is essential if people are to have a roof over their heads.”




For further comment

CHFA: Carol Croce 0402 017 557 or John McInerney 0439 447 110

Homelessness Australia: Glenda Stevens 0405 900 360

National Shelter: Mary Perkins 0419 919 091 or Adrian Pisarski 0417 975 270



Time to commit to action on housing affordability

22 August 2013

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:

  • Make the National Rental Affordability Scheme permanent and provide 50,000 new incentives to support investment in low cost rental housing
  • Establish a social housing growth fund to turn around the decline in social housing for low income households
  • Increase funding for homelessness services to the levels needed to halve homelessness by 2020
  • Immediately lift the level of Commonwealth Rental Assistance and review its effectiveness in helping to meet increasing rents
  • Report on the effects of housing taxation and on implanting the recommendations of the Henry review on the tax treatment of housing.

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