Today’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) statement is bad news for Australian renters struggling with stagnant wages, a failing private rental market and falling investment in social housing.
MYEFO contains no new investment in social housing, or any measures to alleviate housing unaffordability for Australians struggling with chronic rent stress or address growing homelessness in every part of the country.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister ahead MYEFO more than 80 community, homelessness and housing peaks and organisations urged the government to invest in social housing to halt growing homelessness, create construction related jobs and kickstart the stalling economy.
Everybody’s Home campaign spokesperson Kate Colvin said the Government had prioritised a budget surplus over Australians doing it tough and ignored recommendations for urgent infrastructure investment from the Reserve Bank and Productivity Commission.
“The biggest single cause of homelessness and rent stress is lack of social and affordable housing that is affordable for people on low incomes and minimum wages, and people who are surviving in insecure or part time work,” Ms Colvin said.
“Investing in social housing investment would deliver a bigger boost to growth in GDP per dollar spent by Government than would either tax cuts or other transfers to households.
“It can be built faster than roads or rail, it creates construction jobs, and it brings longer-term economic benefits through improvements in workforce participation and productivity because more people with below-average wages can live closer to suitable jobs.
“Most importantly, providing social housing will stem the alarming growth of homelessness occurring across the nation, make sure our children have a safe, healthy place in which to grow up, and support people improving their health if they are ill – all of which reduces the cost to health and community services.”
“In short, MYEFO has missed the opportunity to deliver the help needed to 811,000 households in rent stress and 116,000 Australians that are homeless who are concerned about keeping a roof over their head or food on the table this Christmas.”