The Federal Budget offers nothing for Australians struggling to find an affordable place to live despite a vast gap in the supply of affordable rental properties, the Greens said today.
Greens housing spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said there was extensive evidence to show Australia was in the grip of a decade-long housing affordability crisis.
"The most recent data from the National Housing Supply Council identifies a gap of almost half a million affordable and available rental properties across Australia".
Anglicare figures released just last month showed less than one percent of rental properties around Australia are affordable to low income households, including couples on the pension, and unemployed people.
"The Australian Greens, along with over 60 peak bodies such as Anglicare and the Australians for Affordable Housing group have called for urgent intervention to tackle the emergency head-on. This Budget offers no such thing."
"We would have liked to see for example the announcement of another 50,000 NRAS incentives for new affordable rental dwellings."
"NRAS was launched in July 2008 - the scheme provided $1 billion of incentives over four years for 50 000 affordable rental properties. A further 50,000 incentives were promised from 2012 if demand was strong. It's time to hold the government to this promise."
Senator Ludlam said the Greens ‘Convert To Rent' initiative would also help alleviate the crisis.
"For the past two years we have submitted our Convert to Rent housing initiative to Treasury for consideration. It involves grants of up to $21,000 to help landlords convert empty commercial space, shop-top rooms, and run-down homes into affordable rental housing. We argued strongly for $350 million, which would have resulted in 15,000 new affordable rental dwellings."
"The scheme has been very successful in Canada and the UK. Property, housing and social welfare groups have all voiced support for this policy to convert thousands of empty dwellings into affordable homes. Yet on budget night there was nothing but silence for Australia's 2.4 million rental households."