HomeBuilder scheme a band aid for broken housing system

Confirmation that the Federal Government will not include social housing investment in its housing stimulus package will leave millions of Australians who are homeless or in housing stress out in the cold as we head into recession and ongoing job losses.

The announcement also ignores new figures that show investing in 30,000 new social housing properties over four years would create an average of new 18,000 construction related jobs a year, homes for 30,000 Australian families and slow our national homelessness rate.

National Everybody’s Home campaign spokesperson, Kate Colvin said it was good news the Government had excluded property investments from the HomeBuilder scheme but it had missed the chance to create longer term construction jobs by supporting the growing number of people experiencing rent stress and homelessness.

“Right now we have a real opportunity to create a landmark turning point for the economy and for the kind of country we want to be,” Ms Colvin said.

“Instead we’re already going back to business as usual and taking the easy option of handing $25,000 to renovators who can already afford a home, without supporting those who really need housing help.

“It’s such a short term, short-sighted and disappointing announcement – a kind of stimulus you create without actually stimulating any real change.”

More than 300 Australian organisations have called for increased investment in social housing to provide homes for Australians impacted by job losses as a result of COVID-19 and create construction jobs as the nation rebuilds from the pandemic.

Economic modelling released yesterday by CHIA and National Shelter found that construction of 30,000 social housing properties would raise construction output in Australia by at least $15.7 billion over four years and increase GDP by anywhere between $5.8 billion to $6.7 billion. 

It would also create on average up to 18,000 full-time equivalent jobs each year, with an estimated 24,500 jobs on-site and in the wider building services industry in 2021-22.

“Investing in a national social housing program will kick start a long-term building pipeline for the construction industry and life-time befits for people who need a home they can afford, whether that’s to raise their family, get back on their feet or live safely.

“We also expect Government investment to renovate or upgrade existing social housing, including improving energy efficiency and accessibility for people with disability.

“We will continue talking to the Government and politicians about ensuring further investment ahead of the October Budget,” Ms Colvin said. 

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