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Greens take action to fix housing crisis

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 29 Apr 2013

The Australian Greens said today that neither the Government nor Tony Abbott's Coalition have the vision or conviction needed to help families and vulnerable people deal with the nation's worsening housing crisis.

Anglicare's Rental Snapshot surveyed almost 57,000 properties across Australia, and paints a grim picture for families and people on income support.

"A family of four including two full-time working people can't afford 92 per cent of rental properties in Australia today. To call it a crisis would be an understatement," said Australian Greens housing spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam.

"The Australian Greens are calling for an expansion of NRAS, a Convert To Rent scheme to turn the hundreds of thousands of empty properties in Australia's cities and towns into affordable rentals, and urban planning reform to increase the supply of housing within the existing urban footprints of cities.

"The Greens have been championing Convert to Rent since 2010. This program would see 15,000 rentals refurbished nationally for just $350m. This is a modest investment that would make a difference to the shortfall of 500,000 affordable and available rental properties in Australia right now.

"The Labor Party are increasingly disconnected from the challenges most people are facing, and Tony Abbott won't even commit to the promise to halve homelessness by 2020.

"We congratulate Anglicare on their tireless work for Australians struggling to pay the rent. Anglicare has rightly called for series of measures, including reforms to NRAS and an increase in income support payments such as Newstart Allowance. The Greens remain the only party working to deliver these measures," said Senator Ludlam.

"It's frightening to think there were no properties available in major cities such as Perth for families who rely on any form of income support," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson for families and community services said today.

"This is why the Greens have legislation before Parliament to increase Newstart and Youth Allowance by $50 per week and provide better support for single parents.

"The snapshot shows just how dire things are for single parents. Just 0.1% of properties included in the report nationally are affordable for a single parent raising a family on Newstart. That's how serious the implications of January's cuts to parenting payments are.

"I am pleased that Anglicare has taken steps to examine the effect of these cuts in their report. The Federal Government has done precious little to assess the impact of their unfair policy, and so this information helps fill in the gaps.

"Neither the Government nor Tony Abbott's Coalition have an interest in understanding or alleviating the pressures people are facing.

"Only the Greens are working in best interests of those who are facing this overwhelming financial and emotional stress," Senator Siewert concluded.


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