Housing key to achieving National Reform Summit aims

26 August 2015


Housing policy peak National Shelter will be at the National Reform Summit today to argue that housing tax reform and long term Commonwealth leadership on housing affordability are essential to achieving the aims of the Reform Summit. 

National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski will be there to live tweet the event with commentary on the housing measures necessary to achieve the reform agendas around productivity and living standards. 

“Economies are made up of households and the single biggest factor in households thriving, or not, is housing availability and affordability,” Mr Pisarski said. 

“National Shelter is seriously concerned that the Commonwealth Government has been signalling an exit from housing policy - a ludicrous situation when negative gearing and capital gains tax exemptions have such huge impacts on housing markets.

“We need a National Housing Strategy to underpin Australian productivity and living standards agendas.

“The ‘get a good job’ tactic doesn’t work if there is not a house to be had within commuting range of that job and Sydney and Melbourne don’t have sufficient jobs at that level. 

“The Federal Government must be leaders in housing strategy, for the sake of both our economy and living standards.”

Follow @AdrianPisarski and @NationalShelter for live tweeting of the National Reform Summit. 



Capital gains tax discounts undermine affordability and must be reformed


for immediate release 5 August 2015


Case for tax reform on housing grows 

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.



Dream Over: Government wilfully ignorant on housing affordability, ignores renters, changes policy and denies evidence


11 June 2015

National Shelter says the Abbott government is wilfully ignorant on housing affordability and has dropped the great dream of ownership pushing us towards becoming a nation of renters.

Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski points at the record, “Since being elected they have dismantled the Housing Ministers Conference, axed the only reliable data source the National Housing Supply Council, slashed the only program adding affordable housing supply in NRAS and axed all funding to agencies providing them advice.”
National Shelter also points out it is renters doing it toughest in getting affordable housing. Over 60% of all low income households are in housing stress paying more than 30% of their income. (source National Housing Supply Council 2012).
“The Treasurer is right to point to supply as the problem but nowhere is this a greater issue than for low income households.” Mr Pisarski added.
In its last report the National Housing Supply Council acknowledged a general shortage of supply of 280,000 properties but for low income renters there is a a shortage of over 500,000 affordable and available properties. (NHSC 2012).
“The problem for low income renters is they are outbid on affordable properties and forced to either rent up or move to poor standard, often overcrowded options, in poor locations away from opportunities.” Mr Pisarski added.
“Commonwealth Rent Assistance is inadequate, rents have risen faster than house prices in most places and renters get no reprieve from lower interest rates.”
The number of investors in the market is changing our primary housing goal away from home ownership. “We are becoming a nation of renters rather than owner occupiers, with current tax and other policy settings favouring investors over owner occupiers.”


Govt waits for market magic to relieve housing stress


Peak housing group National Shelter says the budget failed the fairness test the government trumpeted and the Commonwealth must now lead a nationally coordinated effort to address the affordable housing crisis. 

While stimulus was provided to small business and child care and parental leave received attention, nothing was done to relieve the housing stress experienced by over 1 million Australian households.

National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski said “Rents are the largest household cost faced by every struggling family, they have been rising rapidly, but renters got nothing from the budget.”

“iIf we are serious about reducing welfare costs we need to address the market failure not wait for market magic to fix the problem.”

"Despite the Senate Inquiry into affordable housing being released last week the federal budget failed to respond to any measure it contained to improve the fairness of Australia's housing system. They didn't have a go at housing!"

The Inquiry report calls for an increase in funding to boost supply, an examination of tax created market distortions, reinstatement of NRAS, more rent assistance, a national strategy and ongoing coordination with the states. 

“If we wait for the reform of the federation and tax processes before anything is done, renters will be left to suffer. Home owners and investors have had costs reduced through interest rate reductions but nothing has been done to improve rental supply or provide more assistance to renters.”

Mr Pisarski fears that without urgent attention Australia's levels of housing stress and homelessness will continue to increase. "They just don't seem to appreciate the depth of despair ordinary people suffer because of their inability to gain appropriate housing.”

Only a couple of weeks ago Anglicare’s rental snapshot found there were only 1% of properties in Australia affordable for households on allowances.

"Increasingly older Australians, people with disabilities, young people, students and those on low incomes struggle to meet their housing needs and face impossible costs or homelessness as a result."

Mr Pisarski also pointed out that with homelessness and housing peaks being defunded in the MYEFO there will also be fewer voices defending the position of low income renters.




For further contact Mob | 0417 975 270 Adrian Pisarski

Senate Inquiry findings show urgent need for budget action on housing

 11 May 2015

Housing Policy Peak National Shelter has pointed to the findings of the Senate Economics Committee Inquiry into Housing Affordability as clear evidence of the need for urgent budget action. 

The Inquiry found that far too many Australian households live in housing stress, struggle to find adequate accommodation, pay too much and face homelessness as a consequence.

“The Government must respond to the Senate Inquiry by boosting social housing investment, signalling tax reform and reinvigorating the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS),” National Shelter Executive Officer Adrian Pisarski said.  

The Inquiry found there is poor coordination of responsibilities between levels of government requiring the establishment of a National Housing Minister and Ministerial Council which can bring the range of expertise required to solve Australia’s affordable housing crisis.

“People impacted by the housing crisis are sick of the piecemeal approach and buck passing,” Mr Pisarski said. “The Senate Inquiry has delivered a thought provoking report which supports our call for the National Government to look at the whole housing system not just welfare housing.”

“The affordable housing crisis as demonstrated in this report, last week’s Anglicare snapshot and all available evidence, is beyond welfare and hits middle Australia hard and needs the federal Government to lead a national housing policy response.”

"This should involve industry, all levels of government and the not for profit sector in a combined response to ensure Australia is well housed.”

“The report points to the benefits to all of addressing this deteriorating problem and the need for coordinated action in response.”

“Tax reform, the National Affordable Housing Agreement, the National Rental Affordability Scheme have all been neglected by the Government, this report calls for their centrality to solving an underlying problem in our society which also impacts our productivity and fairness.”


Adrian Pisarski, ph 0417975270