The National Council of St Vincent de Paul welcomes the significant commitments of National Cabinet and the Commonwealth to address the housing and rental crisis.
From July 2024, the National Cabinet has set a target of building 1.2 million new homes over five years. The Commonwealth has also committed to providing $3 billion in performance-based funding for states and territories. This will reward those who build more than their fair share of the new homes. The Housing Support Program, a $500 million competitive funding program for local and state governments, aims to boost housing supply.
National Cabinet has also agreed to A Better Deal for Renters which will develop a nationally consistent policy for genuine reasonable grounds for eviction, limiting rent increases to once a year, and phasing in minimum rental standards.
‘We support these announcements. The Society has advocated over a considerable time for ambitious targets for housing and for minimum rental standards,’ said National President Mark Gaetani.
Almost one third of Australian households are renting.
‘We are encouraged that the National Cabinet is addressing the issue of no cause evictions and rental bidding and recognises the need to limit rent increases to once a year and introduce more uniform rental process and standards. These reforms are long overdue.
‘It is very encouraging to see that the National Cabinet is making housing such a priority, although supply continues to be the biggest challenge,’ said Mark Gaetani.
The Society continues to question why the Housing Australia Future Fund Bill (HAFF), which aims to address the severe shortage of social housing, continues to be stalled in the Senate.
‘The HAFF is not perfect, but it is a start. It would be great if all could agree to rental reforms, such as capping rent increases. But this should not hold up the HAFF. We urge all stakeholders to put aside political point scoring and pass the Bill,’ said Mark Gaetani.
Australia is experiencing a tight rental market, and low levels of social housing. In conjunction with a cost-of-living crisis, this means many in our community are suffering. There are over 122,000 Australians homeless on any given night.
‘Federal and State governments must help alleviate this situation. Charities are unable to carry the burden on their own,’ said Mark Gaetani.
People who once would have been homeowners are increasingly locked out of home ownership. This means increased competition for leases. For people in casual employment, JobSeeker recipients, working-age pensioners, single parents, lone individuals, renting is a nightmare.
‘The number of people seeking our assistance due to accommodation issues, financial stress, rental arrears, and homelessness just keeps rising. We are assisting people previously unknown to us. This signals that charities are being relied upon as long-term adjuncts to income support measures.
‘The National Cabinet commitments on housing are welcomed, but we cannot ignore those suffering right now. More action by all governments is needed to help alleviate the pain being experienced by vulnerable Australians,’ said National President Mark Gaetani.
Read about our housing and homelessness advocacy.
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