Creating a Fair Housing Future

Everyone needs a home. A home where they feel safe, a home that’s secure, and a home they can afford. Yet Australia’s housing market has never been less affordable. As Australians are spending record amounts on housing, hundreds of thousands of households are in severe rental stress, and the supply of social housing is depleting as waiting lists balloon. 

The past four decades have marked a significant shift in how the Federal Government tackles housing. It used to fund public housing as its answer to housing affordability. This changed in the 1980s and 1990s, when the Government made the policy choice to subsidise the private market. It offered tax breaks to investors instead of providing affordable homes itself. This reliance on the private market continues to fail Australians. It is geared towards producing profits rather than providing homes.

Australia now spends record amounts of public money on housing, yet affordability has never been worse. By turning away from social housing and prioritising the tax treatment of investors, governments have pushed up the cost of housing for everyone. In doing so they have created a housing system where tax benefits are disproportionately skewed to the wealthy and inequality has increased.

Tackling this crisis will take time, and a willingness to put Australians who need a home ahead of all other interests. It will also require a concerted and enduring commitment from governments. However, with affordability worsening every single year, there is no time to waste to enact the solutions we need to fix Australia’s housing crisis.